VIC Family Violence IVO - Directions Hearing

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riv

Member
4 June 2021
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Hi all

Just had first mentions hearing regarding Familiy Violence Intervention Order, involving my partner and daughter against myself. DHHS, child protection involved. Allegations of drug use, alcohol and other situations taken out of context, dont know how in depth I should reveal. Duty lawyer advised to contest, which I did. Court has order my partner to produce Better & further particulars and has set another directions? hearing.

I don't qualify for legal aid but cant afford private lawyer, looking to self represent.

I need help/information on what exactly is next directions hearing.
Trying to get any relevent documentaion from DHHS but hitting brick walls everywhere. DHHS basically directed me to freedom of information, who directed me to get court subpoena. Magistrates court pointed me to Form 1/IVO13 document to fill in? Anyone with experience or knowledge of filling this form as I dont wont to make any mistakes, greatly appreciated.

Also, directions hearing. What can I expected, what can I/should I need to prepare for? Any ideas or suggestions big or small will be a great help to me.

Thanks in advance, riv.
 

Rod

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27 May 2014
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I'll give some pointers once I know a bit more.

You want the IVO13 subpoena form, BUT only use it if it will help your case. You don't want material that hurts your side of the story. DHHS are not exactly known for the accuracy of the material they hold. They may say unsubstantiated allegations are 'facts'.

The directions hearing looks at progress to work out if the material has been filed. If yes, a date for the contest will be set, if not, new directions/orders are issued.

At some stage after the F&Bs are received you prepare a response. If no F&Bs are received then you prepare an affidavit.
 

GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
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DHHS are not exactly known for the accuracy of the material they hold. They may say unsubstantiated allegations are 'facts'.

Ain't that the truth... I was quite disgusted by the way they handled my case in terms of allegations and substantiation. In my case, they didn't actually substantiate anything but they did apparently substantiate a 'risk' based on unsubstantiated allegations. Funny how you can twist that into anything you want when you're DHHS and effectively above the law.
 

GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
440
38
714
Riv, I can only give you my personal experience. I was in the magistrate's court a couple of years ago with a similar (although I'm sure not similar in all ways, the allegations against me were a little different) and opposed an IVO right up to the contested hearing.

My case was between my ex and myself, with Vicpol representing her as she had gone to them and got them to apply for the IVO on her behalf. DHHS weren't involved directly in the IVO case, but they had provided my ex with a letter which advised that they had 'substantiated a risk' regarding me and my two children. That gave my ex (who had conjured up a lot of vague and twisted allegations against me - my family law lawyer called it a 'burger with the lot' because clearly the intent was to make up for a lack of substance with variety!) a bit more leverage with the magistrate. I tried to get my children taken off the IVO and that was refused, probably because of DHHS's letter.

At the directions hearing, it was a shambles. My ex had been ordered by the magistrate to provide further and better particulars weeks prior, but never provided them. In the hearing, I had the duty lawyer speaking for me but she was run off her feet and not well prepared and a bit impatient, but advised that I wanted to contest the IVO. The magistrate asked me who I wanted to call as witnesses, and wanted to identify how much time the contested hearing may require. I told my duty lawyer that given I didn't even have further and better particulars, how could I possibly advise who I wanted to call as a witness since I didn't even know what specifically I was accused OF. The duty lawyer tried to explain this to the magistrate but the magistrate wasn't particularly sympathetic and just ordered that we go to a contested hearing, and once again ordered my ex to provide further and better particulars. She eventually did (again, much later than the date she was ordered) and it was yet more burger with the lot. Mostly just random documents, text messages exchanged between us since after the IVO (since by then we had family court orders that allowed us to communicate about the children) that revealed nothing in the way of 'family violence'. Nothing that I could really use to help build a defence. A very frustrating process.

Oh, and also the magistrate told me I had to get private representation for my contested hearing as I wouldn't be able to cross examine my ex directly if I self represented. That made it difficult for me because although I wanted to contest it, I didn't want to spend huge amounts of money on representation given I already had a family court case running in parallel. What I have since learned is that legal aid by law must provide a lawyer to cross examine on your behalf. Nobody told me that. If I'd known, it may have changed the way I approached the contested hearing.

In the end, my family lawyer wrote to the police prosecutor asking for a deal in exchange for consent without admission. I'd take a further 6 months of IVO if the children were removed. By that stage, I just wanted it to be over. It took over a year to reach the contested hearing and if I had known it would be so protracted, I may have just consented without admission to the IVO for 12 months in the first place. But then again, I may not have, because when I first received it, I was so frustrated and upset given I'd done nothing to deserve it and my ex had probably just used it to help gain control over the children following our separation. Anyway, the police prosecutor accepted the deal and actually told me that they had told my ex that if she didn't accept it, they would drop their representation of her as they probably by then realised that she was just playing the victim and being difficult. They even warned me to be careful with communicating with her because she's clearly vindictive. Of course they only said that once I'd consented without admission. Prior to that point they were playing hardball.

Anyway, there you go. That's my story. Good luck with your case. The whole process of contesting an IVO seems a bit rotten in the core. There is an assumption (unofficially of course) of guilt until proven innocence. Even accused criminals are given more rights (liberty is not usually taken away until AFTER they are convicted).
 

riv

Member
4 June 2021
2
0
1
Thanks all for your inputs.
I'm starting to get a better understanding of how the system works, or doesnt work??