Stalking: Final Report (html)



A person charged with a criminal offence or offences. Also known as the defendant.


A party to a legal proceeding may be unhappy with the outcome, or with a particular ruling made by the judicial officer hearing the matter; usually, they can apply (appeal) to a higher court to have that outcome or ruling changed.

Affected family member

A person in need of protection under a family violence intervention order or a family violence safety notice.

Affected person

A person in need of protection under a personal safety intervention order.


A person applying for a legal order, such as a personal safety intervention order, or for financial assistance at the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT).

Balance of probabilities

The standard of proof in civil proceedings. Often described as ‘more likely than not’ or ‘more probable than not’. A lower standard than ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

Beyond reasonable doubt

The standard of proof in criminal proceedings. A higher standard than the ‘balance of probabilities’.


A contravention of an order or a law—when a person does something that the order or law says they must not do.

Brief of evidence

The material relied on by the prosecution to prove the charges in a criminal case.


Details of a crime a person is accused of committing.


A person under the age of 18 years. See young person.

Children’s Court of Victoria

A specialist court that hears and decides cases involving children and young people.

Civil proceeding

A case under civil (non-criminal) law, where one person or organisation sues another for breaching their legal rights or failing to do something they are legally obliged to do. Also includes applications for protective court orders, such as personal safety intervention orders or family violence intervention orders.


A technical term used to describe the victim/victim survivor in a criminal prosecution before it has been proved whether or not the accused committed the crime.

County Court of Victoria

The County Court sits above the Magistrates’ Court and below the Supreme Court in the Victorian court hierarchy. In its criminal jurisdiction it hears indictable criminal cases, except the most serious offences, which are heard in the Supreme Court. Criminal trials in the County Court are usually heard by a judge and jury.

Court list

A schedule of the cases listed for hearing in a court on a particular day. Also refers to the specialist management of some cases (for example, cases involving sexual offences) by a dedicated group of judicial officers who actively engage with the parties or their legal representatives to reduce delay, see if cases can be resolved, or ensure proper preparation for and conduct of trials.

Criminal proceeding

A case against a person accused of a criminal offence, or a part of the case, including preliminary hearings and procedures.


When a witness for one party (for example, the prosecution) is asked questions in court by the lawyer for the other party (for example, the accused) to test the evidence the witness has already given.


Stalking using information and communication technology.


A term used to describe the accused person’s legal team and how they defend the charges.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

The official who makes decisions about whether to prosecute serious criminal matters, and who is independent of government. The Victorian DPP is responsible for prosecuting criminal offences under Victorian law. The Office of Public Prosecutions conducts these prosecutions on behalf of the DPP.


The evidence given by a witness for the party who called the witness.

Family member

Defined in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) to include current or former partners, people who are or have been in intimate relationships (and their children), current or former relatives, and children who normally or regularly live (or previously lived) with the relevant person.

May also include people who are or were thought of as being family members, given the overall circumstances of the relationship (for example, a carer or someone culturally recognised as a relative).

Family violence

Defined in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) to include a wide range of abusive, threatening and coercive behaviours by someone to a family member, or acts that cause a child to be exposed to such behaviours. It covers physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse.

Family violence intervention order (FVIO)

An interim or final order issued by the Magistrates’ or Children’s Court to protect a person from family violence.

Family violence safety notice (FVSN)

A temporary notice issued by police to protect a person from family violence until a court can decide whether to issue an interim or a final family violence intervention order.

Financial assistance

Money paid by the state to people who have been injured as a result of a crime.

Higher courts

In Victoria, the County Court and the Supreme Court.

Indictable offence

A serious crime that is usually tried in a higher court before a judge and jury.


Temporary. For example, an order that applies until a judicial officer has an opportunity to fully consider the matter.

Judicial officer

A judge, magistrate, or judicial registrar. Judicial officers can make decisions and directions about the law. They can also impose sentences.

Justice system

The system that responds to criminal behaviour and other harms, including breaches of civil law (see civil proceeding). It includes the criminal and civil courts, and the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal.

Legal representation

The lawyers providing advice to or acting on behalf of the parties in a criminal proceeding or a civil proceeding. Affected persons and affected family members may also have legal representation.


A person who hears (considers and decides on) cases in the Magistrates’ Court or in the Children’s Court, or who decides applications for assistance in the Victims of Crimes Assistance Tribunal.

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

A lower court that hears less serious matters without a jury. It is responsible for hearing and determining summary offences and some indictable offences that can be tried summarily.


A process where people who have a dispute (disagreement) try to reach a mutually-acceptable agreement through discussion, with the help of a trained facilitator (assistant) who is impartial (does not have an interest in the outcome of the dispute).


A person who has been found or has pleaded guilty to a criminal offence.

Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP)

The agency that is independent of government and that prepares and conducts criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.


A binding direction by a court or tribunal in a legal proceeding.


The prosecution and the accused in a criminal proceeding; the plaintiff and the defendant, or the applicant and respondent, in a civil proceeding.

Person with a cognitive impairment

The Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) defines ‘cognitive impairment’ to include ‘impairment because of mental illness, intellectual disability, dementia or brain injury’. In this report, the term ‘person with a cognitive impairment’ is used when we discuss support programs authorised by the Criminal Procedure Act and other similar initiatives. More generally, the term ‘person with a cognitive disability’ is used.

Personal safety intervention order (PSIO)

An interim or final order issued by the Magistrates’ or Children’s Court to protect a person from stalking, assault, harassment, property damage and other prohibited behaviour by another person who is not a family member.


When the accused person tells the court whether they are guilty or not guilty of the charge.


The lawyers, individual (for example, the Director of Public Prosecutions) or agency (for example, the Office of Public Prosecutions) conducting a criminal case before the court on behalf of the investigating agency.

In the Magistrates’ Court, the investigating agency, such as Victoria Police, may itself conduct a criminal case. A ‘prosecution’ may also refer to the case against a person accused of a criminal offence.

Protected person

A person who is protected by an order, such as a family violence intervention order or a personal safety intervention order.


A person who is responsible for the administrative work of courts. Registrars process court documents, answer enquiries, and manage court lists.

A judicial registrar helps manage a court’s workload by hearing (considering and deciding on) certain matters. For example, in the Magistrates’ Court, judicial registrars can hear personal safety intervention order applications.


A person who has had an order, or an application for an order (such as a personal safety intervention order or a family violence intervention order), made against them.


The penalty given to an offender by a court. For example, a fine or a term of imprisonment.


A crime involving one or more of a range of behaviours, done more than once or for an extended period. Examples of behaviours include following a person, tracing their internet use, or keeping them under surveillance. The behaviours on their own may not be illegal, but when they come together in a ‘course of conduct’ directed at a person, with a specific intent, the behaviour becomes criminal.

Family violence stalking is stalking that is linked to family violence. For example, stalking by a partner or ex-partner.

Non-family violence stalking is stalking by a person outside a family violence context. For example, stalking by an acquaintance, colleague, or neighbour.

In this report, our focus is on non-family violence stalking.

Standard of proof

The level of certainty and the degree of evidence necessary to establish that a criminal or civil case has been proved.

The standard of proof for criminal cases is beyond reasonable doubt; for civil cases it is the balance of probabilities.

Summary offence

A criminal offence that may be dealt with ‘summarily’ by a magistrate, without a jury. Less serious than an indictable offence.

Supreme Court of Victoria

The highest court in Victoria that deals with the most serious criminal offences. The Court of Appeal is a division of the Supreme Court and it hears criminal appeals from the Supreme Court or County Court.

Therapeutic intervention

Problem-solving approaches that try to address the issues or causes contributing to a person’s unlawful or criminal behaviour.

Victim/victim survivor

In a criminal proceeding, a victim is a person who has suffered harm as a result of a crime.

In this report, the term applies to a person alleged by the prosecution to be a victim before the accused has been found guilty, as well as a person who has suffered due to an offence (such as stalking) for which the offender has been found guilty. It may also refer to a person who has experienced a crime (such as stalking) that was not reported or prosecuted.

Victim survivor is sometimes used instead of victim.

Victim impact statement

A statement in which a victim can tell the court how the crime affected them. The statement is provided to the court at a sentencing hearing, after the offender has been found guilty.

Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT)

A body established by legislation to hear and determine applications for financial assistance made by victims of violent crime committed in Victoria.


A person who gives evidence in a case.

Young person/young people

In this report, ‘young person’ is used to refer to someone over 18 years of age but under 25 years of age.