Specialist family violence courts have been established as divisions of the Magistrates’ Court in Heidelberg and Ballarat. The Family Violence Court Division (FVCD) deals with a variety of matters related to family violence, including interim and final intervention orders, counselling orders, civil proceedings in respect to damages for personal injury, victims of crime compensation, and breaches of intervention orders.
In addition to the powers that all magistrates have in family violence cases (see “What is a family violence intervention order?” and “Family violence intervention orders and Family Law Act orders”), magistrates sitting in the FVCD also have the power to direct respondents to attend “behavioural change” counselling. If a respondent is ordered to attend but refuses, a fine of up to 10 pu can be imposed.
In addition, the Specialist Family Violence Service operates at the Magistrates’ Court in a few other venues (including Melbourne’s CBD, Frankston, Sunshine and Werribee). Court staff, police prosecutors and other resources specifically cater to family violence cases.
Of course, all Magistrates’ Courts in Victoria can hear applications for family violence intervention orders.