Family Violence Intervention Order Online Application

Online Family Violence Intervention Order Application

The Neighbourhood Justice Centre developed and launched Australia's first online Family Violence Intervention Order application.

Now anyone who needs the court's protection can apply when and where it suits their safety needs. 

Importantly, the online application is designed to fit the needs of users.

The online FVIO is user-friendly as it’s:

  • Written in Plain English. Includes clear explanations about what behaviour the law defines as abusive/unlawful.
  • Emotionally logical. Mimics the ‘flow’ of natural story-telling before having to fill in administrative details 
  • Convenient. Accessible 24/7 on any device (phone/tablet/laptop) and can be saved for up to 4 weeks. People can apply when and were it suits them. This is important when their abuser may be controlling their movements. 

The FVIO puts user safety first as it includes:

  • Common Risk Assessment Framework integrated into the form to automatically flag risk factors for court staff and magistrates to move quickly.
  • Safety tips and safe contact options so court only contacts applicant when safe to do so.
  • Quick escape feature for the applicant to close the form and redirect to Google quickly in the event they are interrupted.

Safety also includes:

  • Encrypts data at rest, uses 128bit SSL security and password-protected.
  • Applicants must come into court in person to change their password. This prevents the system being hacked by the abuser.

The FVIO help users and courts to save time as it is:

  • Easier for applicants to complete on their own. This reduces the need for visits and calls to courts and services
  • Indicates the need for an ‘interim’ or urgent intervention order. This allows court staff to potentially reduce one court visit, and  triage new cases more efficiently.
  • Automates the entry of information from the form into internal systems, which reduces time spent in data entry and processing.

Solving the problem

Family violence survivors have long complained that their experiences in the justice system can be nearly as traumatic as the violence they have suffered. [1]

Anyone who needs the court's protection may apply for a family violence intervention order (FVIO). However, in order to apply they need to fill out a form.

Survivors and their support workers told us that the 12-page paper application is hard to understand (even for lawyers), too long, and difficult to fill out without help. 

Victims of family violence should not have additional barriers placed in their way to getting to safety.

Court registry staff also found the paper form rarely gave them the information they needed. This wasted everybody's time, staff and applicants.

To turn this situation around, we developed and piloted an solution.

Pilot

In 2015 we developed and launched a human-centred, convenient, efficient and secure online form. The pilot was a success with high satisfaction ratings from users.

One applicant surveyed reported that "if it wasn't for the online form, I don't think I would have applied. It would have been too traumatic". 

Funding and recognition

In December 2015 the Public Sector Innovation Fund, Department of Premier and Cabinet provided funding for the online FVIO form to be rolled out.

The application is now available at the Hamilton, Portland, Ringwood, Sunshine, Warrnambool and Werribee Magistrates’ Courts.

In March 2016 the Royal Commission into Family Violence also recommended that the online form be rolled out statewide. 

Anticipated savings for the State will be in the millions ($).

See the form here (External link)


[1] Rosie Batty on Q and A, ABC, 23 February 2015 and numerous submissions to the Royal Commission on Family Violence

[2] Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) (External link), 2003

[3] http://www.crimestatistics.vic.gov.au/home/crime+statistics/year+ending… (External link)