A south-west magistrate has slammed offenders who breach intervention orders by sending text messages to victims or posting about them on social media.
Three men pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Thursday to charges relating to breaches of intervention orders.
The court heard the offenders either contacted the victims via phone or internet, or posted about them on social media despite a court order prohibiting them from doing so.
A 75-year-old man breached both an intervention order and county court bail by sending a message to the victim, his ex-wife, stating that he still loved her.
A 25-year-old posted a photo of himself and the affected family member, his son, on Facebook.
And a 45-year-old contacted the victim, his former partner, through an online dating site and asked how she was going.
In all cases, the defendants' lawyers told the court the social media posts or text messages were not intended to cause fear or harm and were not of a violent nature.
But magistrate Michael Coghlan said a breach of a court order did not need to be violent to be considered serious.
He said a "breach was a breach" despite how big or small.
"If an order says you can't put photos on social media, that is what it says," he told one offender.
"So don't do it."
The three men were convicted and fined $1000 each.
South-west family violence unit court liaison officer Leading Senior Constable Greg Kew said a no-contact intervention order does not stipulate "good or bad contact".
"What needs to be understood is that if an order is in place, the respondent cannot have contact with the protected person, regardless of whether the context is nice in nature," he said.
"Even nice messages can have a negative impact on victims because a lot of the time they have been subjected to a lot of psychological abuse.
"When the perpetrator has an intervention order put on them, they've usually lost control over the victim and that's huge for them. They can no longer cope so they try and keep a bit of that control. Often those nice messages or posts have a hidden agenda."
Leading Senior Constable Kew said there was no excuse for breaching an order.
"When an order is put in place, the magistrate or a police officer explains the conditions clearly to the respondent to make sure there is no confusion," he said.
"There is no excuse when an order is breached and the perpetrator might say they didn't know about a particular condition, but they know."
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