Apprehended Violence Orders

An apprehended violence order (AVO) prohibits the named person (defendant) from engaging in certain behaviours. There are two types of AVOs, apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs) and apprehended personal violence orders (APVOs). An ADVO protects people from people with whom they have a domestic relationship such as an intimate partner or family member. An APVO protects people from people with whom they do not have a domestic relationship, for example neighbours or work colleagues.

A Court may make an ADVO or APVO if it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the person in need of protection (PINOP) has reasonable grounds to fear the defendant and/or the defendant has engaged in stalking or other intimidatory behaviour. There is no need for physical harm, it will be sufficient if the PINOP fears that harm may occur.

  1. You must not assault or threaten the protected person or any other person having a domestic relationship with the protected person.
  2. You must not stalk, harass, or intimidate the protected person or any other person having a domestic relationship with the protected person intentionally.
  3. You must not recklessly destroy or damage any property that belongs to or is in the possession of the protected person or any other person having a domestic relationship with the protected person.

These orders can be made even if the PINOP and the defendant live together, are still in a relationship, or work together.

  1. You must not approach the PINOP or contact them in any way except through a lawyer.
  2. You must not approach the school/childcare/any other place listed here.
  3. You must not approach or be in the company of the PINOP for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs.
  4. You must not try to find the PINOP except as ordered by a Court.
  5. You must not live at the same address as the PINOP, or any other address listed here.
  6. You must not go into any place where the PINOP lives, works, or any other place listed here.
  7. You must not go with ___ metres of any place where the PINOP lives, works, or any other place listed here.
  8. You must not possess any firearms or prohibited weapons.

Provisional or interim orders applied for by police are to protect the PINOP until the Court can hear the application. An interim order will remain in effect for the period specified in the AVO and in the absence of a time period being specified, for 12 months. Typically, the Court will make orders for 12 months or 2 years. Occasionally, a Court may make an order for 5 years in the most serious cases. The defendant may contest the AVO or consent to the AVO on a non-admission basis.

  1. If the police currently have an AVO application against the person seeking protection for the same incident, they cannot act for and against the same person at a hearing.
  2. The PINOP may feel uncomfortable seeking police assistance as they do not want the defendant to be charged.
  3. The PINOP might have had previous bad experiences with police or may fear or distrust the police.
  4. The defendant is a police officer.

An AVO is a civil order of the Court. It is not a criminal charge and will not be listed on a person’s criminal record. However, a person can be charged with a criminal offence for breaching an AVO, which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5500.

Should the PINOP wish to retract their statement and tell police that they made it up, police could charge the PINOP with a public mischief charge for which the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500. Furthermore, should a PINOP give false evidence at Court, they may be exposing themselves to potential perjury charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

Having an AVO may affect a person’s ability to work with children. A police-initiated final AVO made against a defendant for the protection of a child will be recorded on a defendant’s working with children check and they may not be considered eligible for child-related employment.

Having an AVO may also affect family law proceedings. In determining an appropriate parenting order, the Court must consider the nature of an AVO, the circumstances in which an AVO was made, any evidence admitted in proceedings, and any findings of the Court.

Given the range of possible ramifications with respect to the imposition and/or breach of an AVO, it is important to seek appropriate legal advice to assist you in making the right decision for you and your future. The team at Jackson John Defence Lawyers have extensive experience in AVOs and can help you navigate the Court process with dignity and upmost care to achieve a positive result.