Understanding AVOs – Apprehended Violence Orders

Understanding AVOs – Apprehended Violence Orders

An ‘AVO’ refers to an ‘Apprehended Violence Order’, issued by a court against a person who has made another person feel fearful of assault, harassment, violence or intimidation.

There are two types of Apprehended Violence Orders:

  1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO), which is issued where the two parties are married, family, or in a de facto relationship.
  2. Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO), which is issued where the two parties are not Examples include colleagues, friends or neighbours.

How to apply for an AVO

An AVO can be pursued by the police or, in the absence of the police, through a private application in the local court. If the police will not make the application on your behalf, you can still make an application, but you should get legal advice first. For instance, sometimes the police will not take action where no assault has taken place, but the court may still grant you an AVO.

The police and the courts take AVOs very seriously, and applications will be refused if they do not seem legitimate, or appear exaggerated or fraudulent. If you are considering applying for an AVO, it is useful to write down as much information as you can including dates, times and places of incidents, and how you felt at the time, so you can provide this to your solicitor to obtain the relevant advice.

In Court

This may come as a surprise, but the defendant (the person who the AVO is issued against) can consent to the AVO being made without admitting to any of the behaviour they have been accused of. However, if you are a defendant, it is highly recommended that you consult a lawyer before consenting to an AVO, because it can have serious ramifications and may affect your access to any children. It can also result in you losing a firearms license and in certain types of employment, it can affect your position.

If the defendant does not consent to an AVO, the court will hear the matter to first determine whether a provisional order should be made. Usually a provisional order is made and then the Court will refer the matter to a hearing.

At the hearing, both parties will present their facts to the judge, and the judge will determine whether or not to issue the AVO and if so – how long the AVO will be imposed for and what the conditions of the AVO will be.

Defending an AVO

There are many ways to defend against an AVO. If you are a defendant, it is very important to obtain legal advice before defending yourself in court. If you have not had time to obtain legal advice, you may ask the court for additional time.

As mentioned above, you can consent to an AVO being made against you without admitting to any of the reasons the AVO was issued (e.g. violence, harassment, etc). If the evidence against you is strong, you may wish to consent to it instead of having a contested hearing. In some circumstances, you can apply for the AVO to be revoked or changed.

Our experienced lawyers can assist you in defending an AVO that has been brought against you. We will consider the reasons for the AVO, hear your side of the story, look at all of the facts and advise you accordingly.

Breaching an AVO

It is important to remember that breaching an AVO is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $5500 and/or two years in prison. We strongly recommend obtaining legal advice before acting outside of the terms of any AVO issued against you.

Contact Us

The team at Etheringtons Solicitors are skilled at handling all matters relating to AVOs and are able to assist with complex cases. If need assistance with any area of litigation, do not hesitate to contact us on 9963 9800 or via the contact form here.