AVO’s (Apprehended Violence Orders) are orders issued under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. They are designed to protect a victim of violence from the person who perpetrated the violence.
An AVO is not recorded on criminal records, although, a breach of an AVO will result in an arrest and subsequent charging of the person who breaches it. An application for an AVO may be made by a police officer, on behalf of the victim, or by the victim themselves, via the local court. The person applying for an AVO must show that they are in fear of the defendant, and have reasonable grounds to fear the defendant.
An apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) is designed to protect people from, and prevent domestic and non-domestic abuse, as well as limiting the exposure of children to domestic and non-domestic violence. The victim may apply for an ADVO if they are or were in a domestic relationship with the person whom they want protecting from.
An APVO is issued where a person requires protecting from person with whom they are not in, or have not been in, a domestic relationship with. An example of the type of person an application may be made against is a neighbour, a co-worker, a school-bully, a customer, a client or any other person that the victim has reason to fear.
An application is sent to the police station closest to where the defendant is located. The defendant then receives notice and a court date relating to the AVO, which is issued from that police station.
At court, which will be a mention, a final order may be granted if the defendant was served (the defendant does not have to be in court for this to occur). If the defendant has not been served, there may be an adjournment. If the defendant disagrees with the application, the matter will be adjourned for a hearing, in which evidence will be heard from both parties before the court decides. Usually, an interim order is issued for cases where there is an adjournment.
If an AVO case progresses to a hearing, the magistrate will hear evidence from both the applicant and the defendant. The magistrate then needs to make a decision based on his or her determination that the applicant has reasonable fear of further violence. At this point, an order is either granted, or dismissed. If the order is dismissed, an appeal may be made.
Section 17 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) ACT 2007 outlines the considerations that the court must make in determining an AVO. The safety and protection of the applicant, as well as any children (directly or indirectly) affected by the conduct of the defendant, must be the primary consideration.
The court may also consider the effects and consequences of an order upon the applicant and any associated children who reside with the defendant, in cases where the prohibition or restriction of access to the defendant’s place of residence is not denied. In addition, any hardship that may be caused, as well as the accommodation needs of all relevant parties, or any other matter, may be considered.
It is imperative irrespective whether you consent to the AVO or not that you first obtain legal advice to understand the consequences of your actions.