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Family violence intervention orders are granted speedily and safely


Who is leading the change

  • Court Services Victoria

The Victorian Government enact legislation and take other steps as necessary to support the capacity of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (and, where relevant, the Children’s Court of Victoria) to grant family violence intervention orders speedily and with due regard to the interests of justice and the safety of affected family members.

The Victorian Government consider:

  • transferring some of the jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to another forum - for example, fines and traffic infringements
  • expanding the range of matters that can be determined on the papers - that is, without an in-person hearing
  • funding the appointment of a greater number of judicial registrars to deal with certain matters or classes of matters.

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (and, where relevant, the Children’s Court of Victoria) consider whether the caseload of magistrates could be better managed by:

  • re-assigning some family violence intervention order applications currently heard at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to the Neighbourhood Justice Centre
  • delegating authority to judicial registrars to deal with certain matters or classes of matters under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) - for example, allowing them to grant adjournments or make interim orders and/or substituted service orders. The Victorian Government should take any necessary action to implement these recommendations if the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria advises this is desirable.
  • As part of a number of court reforms, the Magistrates’ Court and the Department of Justice and Community Safety are working to make courts safer and less traumatic for victim survivors by developing innovative approaches to improve the court experience.

    Work on this recommendation has involved:

    • consulting across the Magistrates' Court and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)External Link to identify options and impacts
    • undertaking policy work to determine a detailed approach for transferring some of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV) jurisdiction to an alternative forum and potentially expanding the powers of Judicial Registrars or the delegation
    • developing detailed cost modelling on potential transfers of jurisdiction
    • developing supporting legislation through the usual legislative drafting processes, if required
    • considering options for remote, online and on-the-papers hearings.
  • All matters listed under this recommendation have been considered. Subsequently, activities have been completed to build capacity in the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts and to support Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIOs) being granted speedily and safely. These include:

    • The Fines Reform Act (2014)External Link which took effect at the start of 2018 and Transport Legislation Amendment (Better Roads Victoria and Other Matters) Act (2019)External Link increased capacity in the Magistrates’ Court by moving some matters from MCV’s jurisdiction to Fines Victoria and VicRoads.
    • New VCAT venues were built to reduce demand on Frankston, Moorabbin and Heidelberg Magistrates’ Courts, aligning with three of the new Specialist Family Violence Court (SFVC) locations.
    • Increased capacity through a 70 per cent increase in the number of judicial registrars in the Magistrates’ Court since the Royal Commission into Family ViolenceExternal Link . In the Children’s Court, the Children, Youth and Families (Children’s Court judicial registrars) Rules 2021 allow judicial registrars to hear and determine:
      • Family Violence and Personal Safety Intervention Order proceedings.
      • direction, mention or special mention hearings including returns of conciliation conferences; and
      • the making of a final order in child protection proceedings, if uncontested.
    • The FVIO Online Form, allowing affected family members greater choice and flexibility when making their application. The Online Form is available statewide for new applications and is being expanded to offer extend, vary and revoke functions.
    • The Family Violence Contact Centre, which handles enquiries from affected family members, respondents, legal services and police.1
    • The capability to hear matters online, which allows affected family members to participate in their hearing from a safe, remote location via an audiovisual link.
    • Supported remote hearing facilities are being expanded to ten non-court locations across Victoria in 2022.
    • The Pre-Court Engagement Program, which supports parties with early referrals to legal and other supports at some metropolitan and one regional court, helps ensures matters are ready to proceed at their hearing date and in some cases, supports early decision making.


    1The Family Violence Contact Centre supports the following courts: Ballarat, Dandenong, Frankston, Geelong, Heidelberg, Melbourne, Moorabbin, Ringwood, Shepparton and Sunshine Magistrates’ Courts.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 27 January 2023

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