Guideline 6a – personal safety intervention order cases

Guideline 6a – personal safety intervention order cases

6a.1 – Adults

6a.1.1 – Applicants

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance to an applicant seeking an intervention order under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (the Act) where all of the following apply:

  • the applicant is aged 18 years or older
  • the matter is listed for a contested hearing
  • the applicant can establish an ongoing history of "obsessed stranger" stalking by the respondent with whom they do not have and have not had a close personal relationship
  • the applicant is more likely than not to succeed in obtaining an intervention order under the Act.

In determining whether the applicant is more likely than not to succeed, VLA will have regard to the definition of ‘stalking’ under section 10 of the Act.

VLA will not normally make a grant of legal assistance to an applicant (an affected person) where the application has been brought by the police. VLA expects an applicant to begin proceedings with the help of the police or a Magistrates’ Court registrar.

The merits of the application

As well as meeting the usual requirements of the State reasonableness test the application for a personal safety protection order must not be frivolous, vexatious or in bad faith.

6a.1.2 – Respondents

VLA may only make a grant of legal assistance to a respondent to oppose the making of a personal safety intervention order under the Act where all of the following apply:

  • the respondent is aged 18 years or older
  • the making of an intervention order in terms sought would genuinely place the respondent at risk of homelessness
  • the respondent can demonstrate that the application is unlikely to be successful and they are more likely than not to succeed in contesting the making of an intervention order.

In determining whether the respondent is genuinely at risk of homelessness the mere fact that the parties live within close proximity to each other will not be sufficient to establish this requirement.

6a.2 – Children

6a.2.1 – Applicants

VLA expects an applicant under the age of 18 years to be included in any application by an adult applicant.

VLA may make a grant of legal assistance to a child aged 14 years or older to bring an application for an intervention order under the Act where:

  • the court has granted leave to the child to apply for an intervention order

or

  • the child is included in an adult’s application for an intervention order, but the court decides that the child’s application should be heard separately.

and all of the following apply:

  • a judicial officer of the Children’s Court deems it imperative that the child is represented and makes a referral for the child to be represented
  • the matter is listed for a contested hearing
  • the applicant is more likely than not to succeed in obtaining an intervention order under the Act.

6a.2.2 – Respondents

VLA may make a grant of legal assistance to a child under the age of 18 years to respond to an application for an intervention order under the Act where all of the following apply:

  • a judicial officer of the Children’s Court deems it imperative that the child is represented and makes a referral for the child to be represented
  • the respondent can demonstrate that the application is unlikely to be successful and they are more likely than not to succeed in contesting the making of an intervention order.

Cross-applications for intervention orders

If the person applying for a grant of legal assistance is both the applicant and the respondent in an intervention order matter, then:

  • if the person meets the guidelines for applicants but does not meet the guidelines for respondents, VLA will make a grant of legal assistance only for the application for an intervention order
  • if the person meets the guidelines for respondents but does not meet the guidelines for applicants (because, for example, the application is merely vexatious), VLA will make a grant of legal assistance only to enable the person to respond to the application made against them
  • VLA will only provide a single grant of legal assistance for a cross-application.

Proceedings for breach of an intervention order

If the person applies for a grant of legal assistance as a respondent in proceedings for breach of an intervention order, then VLA will assess the application under its Criminal law guidelines.

Applications by the respondent to appeal against an intervention order, or to apply to revoke an intervention order

If a respondent applies to appeal against the making of an intervention order, or to apply for its revocation, then this application cannot be the subject of a recommendation for assistance via the simplified grants assessment process. The applicant would need to apply via the standard grants assessment process and demonstrate there are special circumstances present.

Documentary requirements

Simplified grants assessment process

Lawyers seeking a grant of legal assistance via the simplified grants assessment process should submit an application via ATLAS, only after ensuring that the following documents are retained on file (unless they are requested by VLA for assessment):

  • a copy of any application, complaint and interim order made
  • if the person seeking a grant of legal assistance is a child, a copy of the court’s order granting leave for the child to apply
  • the lawyer’s assessment of how the matter meets guideline 6a.1.1, 6a.1.2 or 6a.2
  • documentary proof of any State special circumstances
  • relevant proof of means.