Interstate warrant

Follow this procedure when executing a warrant in relation to a child who is interstate.
Document ID number 1215, version 4, 19 October 2022.

You may need to seek a warrant in the Children’s Court for the apprehension of a child who is subject to a protective intervention report, an interim accommodation order or a protection order and is interstate. 

If a child is located interstate, the warrant may be executed by interstate police under the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 on behalf of Victoria.

Throughout this process, you should obtain advice from a departmental solicitor or court officer and the interstate liaison team.

For additional information see Interstate warrants - advice


Case practitioner tasks

  • Negotiate with the interstate liaison officer (ILO) and family or carer once the child has been located, and establish if the child is willing to return to Victoria. Determine if the child can be returned to Victoria without the execution of the warrant.
  • Consult with the relevant interstate liaison team about any tasks to be undertaken by the interstate child protection practitioner on behalf of Victoria such as seeking immediate support or medical treatment for the child due to health concerns or their current circumstances.
  • Seek legal advice before applying for a warrant and determine the most appropriate warrant type for the risk assessment and legal circumstances of the child.
  • Seek the applicable Children’s Court search warrant. See Warrants.
  • Update the interstate liaison team on the need for an interstate warrant to be executed.
  • Travel interstate to be present either at the point of execution of warrant or for a Children’s Court hearing in the other state.
  • Be present at the interstate court so the magistrate can make the order returning the child to your care immediately. A copy of the warrant must be provided to the interstate court and where one exists a copy of the Children’s Court order. 
  • If you cannot be present when the child is brought before the interstate court, the police should seek an order that places the child in the care (or custody) of the interstate jurisdiction until the child is able to be placed in the care of a Victorian Child Protection practitioner, or for a specified period of no more than five days.
  • Make transport arrangements to return the child to Victoria.
  • If the matter is not heard by a Children’s Court in the other state, the Victorian order is not enforceable and the child is not legally in your custody until returned to Victoria.
  • If the interstate court does not make an order, the Victorian order is not enforceable. Without an interstate court order, it is advisable for you and the child to be in the company of police or interstate child protection authorities until you are in the State of Victoria.
  • Accompany the child back to Victoria.

Interstate liaison team tasks

  • Assist and guide practitioners with the process and negotiate with the coordinating Interstate Liaison Officer in the interstate jurisdiction.
  • Contact the coordinating Interstate Liaison Officer of the other state and advise if a warrant needs to be executed.
  • Request any assistance needed from the interstate child welfare department’s staff.
  • Provide relevant information to the coordinating Interstate Liaison Officer of the other state and negotiate for the execution of the warrant as outlined in the Interstate Warrants Protocol. This will include contact details for the Victorian Central Records Branch, the type of warrant, location of the child and contact details for the Victorian child protection practitioner.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.
  • Oversee the warrant process until the warrant is executed or withdrawn.
  • Conduct negotiations with interstate liaison team and interstate liaison officer of the other state.

Team manager tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation and endorse the decision to apply for a warrant.
  • Facilitate any interstate requests for assistance with the execution of a warrant for the apprehension of a child who has arrived in Victoria from another state or territory.
    • This may include escorting a child into the care (or custody) under a warrant from another state and giving parental responsibility (or custody) of a child over to the relevant interstate child protection practitioner, or placing a child care until the interstate child protection practitioner can reach Victoria (not more than five days).