How does an AVO protect children?
Children who are exposed to family violence are particularly vulnerable. Family violence can have a serious impact on a child’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.
If you are applying for an intervention order, you will be asked if you believe that your safety or the safety of your children is threatened by the respondent (person the application is against). If you fear for your children’s safety, you can include them on your application.
You can also ask the magistrate to change (vary) or suspend a parenting order. You can ask the magistrate to stop the children:
- living with the respondent,
- spending time with the respondent or
- communicating with the respondent.
If a child is not part of an affected family member’s (the person who needs protecting) application:
- a parent or guardian can apply for an intervention order if the child is under 18 or
- the child can apply for an intervention order if they are 14 or older and the court agrees.
In these cases the matter is usually heard in the Children’s Court.
A magistrate must consider if there are any children who have seen or heard the family violence. Therefore, the magistrate will ask the affected family member or respondent if they have any children and how the family violence has affected them.
A magistrate can decide to include a child on the final order, even if the applicant did not name them in the application. The child’s safety is the most important consideration.
If the magistrate decides that the child needs to be protected, the intervention order may say that the respondent can have no contact with the child.