What is a Personal Safety Intervention Order?
Unlike Family Violence Intervention Orders, the applicant and respondent to these proceedings do not share a family relationship.
The purpose of this form of Intervention Order is the same as a Family Violence Intervention Order, which is the protection from prohibited behaviour by a respondent.
Like a Family Violence Intervention Order, conditions can be imposed by a Magistrate to prohibit certain conduct. This prohibited behaviour under Section 5 of the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act 2010 includes:
- Assault; or
- Sexual assault; or
- Harassment; or
- Property damage or interference; or
- Making a serious threat
Who Can Apply?
A person may apply to the Magistrates’ Court if they have been subjected to prohibited behaviour by another person.
The person seeking the benefit of a Personal Safety Intervention Order is referred to as the affected person or applicant and the person to whom the Order is directed at is called the respondent. A person may make their own application, or may have an application brought on their behalf by the police.
How Long Does a Personal Safety Intervention Order Last?
Once an application for a Personal Safety Intervention Order has been made to the Magistrates’ Court it must be determined unless withdrawn by the applicant. Under the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act 2010, an application for a Personal Safety Intervention Order will be listed for a mention, if accepted by the court.
On this mention date, a number of outcomes may arise.
- The affected person may withdraw their application
- The respondent may agree to the terms of the Order sought (usually on a ‘without admission’ basis) and proceed to make a Final Order
- The application may be contested, in which case the court must adjourn the application for a further Court date.
And if the application cannot be resolved, the matter must eventually be listed for a hearing. At this hearing, the Court must determine on the balance of probabilities whether the evidence supports a Final Order in favour of the affected person.
Before a final determination of the application, the court may make an Interim Order. Under the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act 2010, the court may make an interim order pending a final decision about the application, if satisfied on the balance of probabilities that an interim order is necessary pending a final decision about the application –
(i) to ensure the safety of the affected person or
(ii) to preserve any property of the affected person; and that it is appropriate to make the order in all the circumstances of the case.
If the court makes an Interim Order it will be in a form which lists a number of conditions the respondent must comply with. This Interim Order remains in force until the next Court date.
At the final hearing of the case, the presiding Magistrate must determine whether a Final Order should be made in the terms sought by the applicant. The Magistrate will make their decision based upon whether the evidence, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has committed prohibited behaviour against the affected person; and is likely to do so or do so again; and the respondent’s prohibited behaviour would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety; or stalked the affected person and the respondent and the respondent and affected person are not family members; and that it is appropriate in all the circumstances to make the final order.
The Personal Safety Intervention Order Act 2010, does not provide a limit to which a PSIO will last, although 12 months is a period frequently imposed the Court. Sometimes the particular circumstances of an application will warrant a longer period.
Conditions of a Personal Safety Intervention Order
Once a Magistrate determines that there are grounds to order an interim Personal Safety Intervention Order, the Order will be served upon the respondent, and will contain a number of conditions including:
- Prohibiting the respondent from committing prohibited behaviour against the protected person; and
- Prohibiting the respondent from stalking the protected person; and
- Excluding the respondent from the protected person’s residence; and
- Prohibiting the respondent from approaching, telephoning or otherwise contacting the protected person, unless in the company of a police officer, dispute assessment officer, mediator or a specified person.
Learn more by downloading our free information book Understanding Family Violence Intervention Orders.