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Police directions

Information about police powers to issue directions to someone who has been involved in a family violence matter.

The Act gives the police protective powers to issue directions to someone who has been involved in a family violence matter.

Note: These powers are rarely exercised by police.

Police may give directions to a family member to protect an affected family member in the period between the incidence of violence and the court hearing. If that person refuses to follow police directions the police may detain that person.

Police officers can only use their direction and detention powers if they:

  • reasonably suspect that the person is at least 18 years old
  • intend to apply for a family violence safety notice or a family violence intervention order against the person
  • believe on reasonable grounds that the use of the powers is necessary to ensure the safety of the affected family member.

If all 3 conditions are met, a police officer can direct a person to:

  • go to or remain at a certain place
  • remain in the company of a police officer
  • remain in the company of another person (if that person consents).

The legislation says that the direction must be reasonable in the circumstances.

Warning about the consequences if the directions are ignored

A police officer must also warn the person that if they refuse or fail to comply with the direction, they can be detained. If they are detained, it is an offence to escape or attempt to escape.

Note: these protective powers are different from those associated with criminal offences.

More information


Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)

  • s. 13—criteria for exercise of powers
  • s. 13A—criteria for exercise of powers for recognised interstate and NZ orders
  • s. 14—direction power
  • s. 15—detention power
  • s. 16—search powers
  • s. 17—procedural requirements
  • s. 18—duration of holding powers
  • s. 19—extension of periods
  • s. 20—application for extension by phone or fax
  • s. 21—police must notify the person that they have directed and also if reasonably possible, the affected family member when the direction has ended
  • s. 22—prohibition on police questioning during the period that the person is being held under the holding powers

See Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic).