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Courts may grant apprehended violence orders or AVOs to protect people against acts of violence and threats of acts of violence. These include physical assault, harassment, intimidation, molestation and damage to property.

On its own, an AVO is not a criminal offence and is not recorded on a person’s criminal record. It is simply an Order of the Court. An application for an AVO can be made without a person being convicted or charged with a criminal offence.

Apprehended violence orders come in two types: domestic (ADVO) and personal (APVO).

Applying for an AVO

In many circumstances, apprehended violence orders (AVOs) are made by the police. This usually happens after a domestic violence incident has been reported and the police have investigated. The police are required to apply for an AVO if they suspect or believe that:

  • A domestic violence offence has been committed or is likely to be committed; or
  • An offence under section 227 (child and young person abuse) of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 has been committed or is likely to be committed; or
  • An offence of stalking or intimidation has been committed or is likely to be committed.

However, the police are not required to make an application for AVO if:

  • The victim intends to make the application; or
  • There is good reason not to make an application (the police need to make a written record of the reason for not making the application).

An AVO which has been applied for by the police is presented in the Court by the police prosecutor. The police prosecutor represents the interests of the victim. The victim will ordinarily not be required to obtain separate legal representation.

It is possible to privately apply for an AVO. Some people choose to make a private AVO application for the following reasons:

  • so as not to involve the police (which may involve a full investigation and charges being laid); or
  • the police have decided not to make an AVO application.

If you apply for an AVO and it is later found by the Court to be frivolous or vexatious, the Court may make a costs order against you. This will mean that you may need to pay costs to the person you attempted to take out an AVO against (which could be thousands of dollars). For this reason, it is important that if you intend to make a private application for an AVO, you firstly speak to a Criminal Attorney.

We have a team of formidable Criminal Lawyers that can:

  • assess whether you have justified reasons for applying for an AVO and therefore help to minimize the risk that the Court will find the AVO to be frivolous or vexatious
  • advise you whether there are other ways to deal with your situation
  • assist you in preparing the private AVO application
  • determine whether you should also apply for an interim or provisional order
  • prepare you and your case for the hearing of the AVO at Court (including obtaining any relevant and supporting documentation such as medical reports, photographs and witness statements)
  • attend and represent you at the Court hearing

The proper preparation and presentation of your case is crucial to any AVO matter. Do not risk your safety and the safety of your family. Our Criminal Lawyers regularly appear in Local Courts, District Courts and the Supreme Court and have significant experience with AVO applications.

Defending against an AVO

A major problem with apprehended violence orders (AVOs) is that the process involved with applying for an AVO is very simple. In many circumstances, AVOs are taken out without proper cause (and sometimes out of revenge or spite). In these situations, it is important that you obtain the services of an experienced Criminal Attorney to help you defend yourself against the AVO.

AVOs can have severely restrictive conditions which may affect your day to day life. Because no criminal convictions flow directly from an AVO, some people choose to ignore the AVO and decide to press on with their lives. This can be disastrous because a breach of the terms of the AVO will likely lead to you being charged with a criminal offence.

Our Criminal Lawyers are experts in defending against AVOs. We can:

  • advise you on your rights in relation to defending against an AVO
  • advise you on the terms of the AVO so you understand what you can and cannot do
  • prepare you and your case for the hearing of the AVO at Court (including obtaining witness statements)
  • attend and represent you at the Court hearing 

However, there are ways to deal with an AVO matter outside of Court. We will, where possible or appropriate, also give due consideration to alternatives to fighting an AVO in the Local Court, District Court or Supreme Court. We have, in the past, successfully settled AVO matters outside the Court room. Settlement letters and mediation are some ways these can be achieved. This has saved our clients the time, stress and money involved in having an AVO matter run through the Court system.

Breach of an AVO

The breach of an AVO is a serious matter. There are a number of different outcomes which can arise as a result of an AVO breach, including:-

  • penalty fines
  • community service orders
  • good behaviour bonds
  • suspended sentences
  • periodic detentions
  • jail  sentences

In order to be convicted of an AVO breach, the Court must be persuaded that there was an actual contravention of the terms of the AVO and that the contravention was done or made knowingly. If you are found guilty of the breach of AVO, it is likely that an offence will be recorded on your criminal record. Amongst other things, this could have an effect on your ability to find employment, travel overseas or apply for government roles.

For more information on AVOs, or for legal advice on applying for an AVO, defending against an AVO or the breach of AVO, feel free to contact our office to speak to an experienced Criminal Attorney. 

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This webpage (and any material or wording appearing on this webpage) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute any Legal Advice. It does not take into account your objectives, your instructions or all of the relevant facts and/or circumstances. Navado accepts no responsibility to any person who relies on the information provided on this website. We further refer you to our Disclaimer.

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