Temporary assessment order (without notice)

Temporary assessment order, TAO
Follow this procedure when an investigation cannot proceed without an order of the Court.
Document ID number 1222, version 5, 23 October 2023.

When there is a reasonable suspicion a child may be at immediate risk of harm and an investigation without a court order is not possible, child protection can apply to the Children’s Court for a temporary assessment order without notice. A temporary assessment order can be considered at any time in the course of an investigation, or following substantiation until the point where a protection application is issued, if required to enable completion of an assessment of protective concerns.


Case practitioner tasks

  • Consult your supervisor about whether to seek a temporary assessment order (TAO) without notice. Clarify:
    • the grounds for the TAO
    • the grounds for not applying by notice
    • whether a warrant is required.
  • Seek advice from the CPLO or a divisional legal officer about the application.
  • Complete Application for a temporary assessment order’ for a TAO in CRIS (or offline if necessary). See 2602 Court owned forms.
  • Initiate the application in the CMS Portal with the required documentation. The CMS Portal should allow the applicant to select the appropriate time and date within listing rules.  If the required date and time is unavailable in the CMS Portal, contact the Court (prior to 1 pm if you are seeking the order the same day in metropolitan areas or in rural areas check with your local court or divisional legal officer) to inform them you are seeking a TAO and that you will be seeking it ‘without notice’ as court time may be required to hear evidence.
  • If you are seeking a warrant, additional paperwork will be required and lodged in the CMS Portal. See 1213 Warrants. 
  • Lodge the application via the CMS Portal prior to the hearing date.

Grounds for a TAO without notice

  • When preparing an application for a TAO without notice you need to present to the Court information to support the following:
    • reasonable suspicion the child is or is likely to be in need of protection
    • further investigation and assessment is warranted
    • investigation and assessment cannot proceed without a temporary assessment order
    • the proposed investigation or assessment is likely to provide relevant information that is unlikely to be obtained elsewhere
    • giving notice is inappropriate in the circumstances (specify the reason it is inappropriate)
    • the distress the investigation or assessment is likely to cause the child will be outweighed by the value of the information that might be obtained.

Executing a TAO

  • Consider worker safety issues. See 2956 Worker safety checklist.
  • Take all steps necessary to attempt to execute the order, for example, attending and attempting to enter the premises where the child is residing, attempting to interview the child or any other provision made in the order.
  • Explain the TAO to the parents and encourage their cooperation in the investigation. Advise parents of their right to refuse to answer a question.
  • Provide the child and parents with relevant information sheets found at
    2905 Temporary assessment order – information sheets. 
    and information about how to contact Victoria Legal Aid (VLA)for legal advice noting that the family will be automatically referred to VLA when the application is listed in the CMS Portal.

Despite a TAO with the condition that a registered medical practitioner or registered psychologist examines the child, a medical practitioner or psychologist must not do so if they are of the opinion that the child has sufficient understanding to give or refuse consent to the examination, and the child refuses to consent to the examination. (s.233).

  • Complete CRIS requirements including court screen and record of activity, decisions and rationales.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation. Consider order conditions.

Team manager tasks

  • Consider the need for a TAO without notice and seek the endorsement of the deputy area operations manager.

Deputy area operations manager tasks

  • Endorse the application for a temporary assessment order.