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Legal > Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)

APVOs:

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An Apprehended Violence Order (“AVO”) is a Court Order designed to protect a person (“the Protected Person”) from being intimidated, stalked, assaulted, harassed or threatened by another person (“the Defendant”) by imposing conditions on the contact they can have with the Protected Person. Conditions of an AVO may include, prohibitions on the Defendant:

  1. Assaulting, molesting, harassing, intimidating, threatening or “interfering with” the Protected Person;
  2. Stalking the Protected Person;
  3. Attending the Protected Person’s workplace or residence;
  4. Approaching the Protected Person;
  5. Damaging property owned by or in the possession of the Protected Person.

An Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) is a type of AVO which can be applied for where the Defendant is not presently, nor have they previously been in a domestic relationship with the Protected Person, for example, the Defendant may be a neighbour or a co-worker.

An APVO can be made to the Local Court by the Protected Person or by the Police, depending on the circumstances, such as whether there has been any actual violence committed or whether the Police consider it necessary for the safety of the Protected Person or their children.

Once an application is filed, the Defendant will receive notice of a time and date to attend Court to respond to the application. If the Defendant consents to the making of an APVO, the Court will generally issue the APVO. If the Defendant objects, the application will proceed to hearing (or in some instances mediation). Pending the outcome of mediation or the final hearing, the Court may issue an interim APVO.

Mediation will occur unless there is not a good reason in the circumstances of the case. When determining the appropriateness of mediation, the Court will look at the following factors:

  • Any history of physical violence between the parties;
  • Whether the Defendant has committed a personal violence offence against the Protected Person;
  • If stalking or intimidation has occurred;
  • If the Defendant has harassed the Protected Person on grounds including religion, race, sexuality, transgender status, HIV/AIDS status or disability; or
  • Whether previous mediation attempts have failed.

If mediation is unsuccessful, a hearing will proceed. At the hearing, the parties will present evidence in support of their case. The Court will then determine whether an APVO should be issued and the conditions or prohibitions appropriate in the circumstances. An APVO is granted, it will operate for a prescribed period of time. Extensions to an APVO can be sought, or conversely, an APVO can be withdrawn, upon an application to the Court.

It is important to comply with the conditions set out in the APVO because a failure to do so, could result in criminal sanctions being imposed, such as imprisonment. A Protected Person should report any breach of the APVO to Police immediately.

If you require assistance with an AVO matter, you may wish to contact our office and arrange an appointment to see one of our AVO Solicitors in our Sydney office. 

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