JJ Blog Content 13 JUL 2023 03

How to Defend Yourself Against an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)

When faced with an apprehended violence order (AVO), a legal situation involving personal safety and potential restrictions on your actions, it’s crucial to understand your rights and know how to effectively defend yourself. 

An AVO is a legal order issued by the court to protect individuals who fear for their safety due to domestic violence, harassment or stalking. It places restrictions on the person accused of such behaviour. While an AVO is a civil order, breaching its conditions can lead to serious legal consequences.

In this article, we will provide you with practical guidance on how to effectively defend yourself against an AVO. Whether you believe you are facing a false AVO claim, have questions about the defence strategies available to you or simply want to understand what needs to be proven to contest an AVO, we’ve got you covered. 

What Is an AVO?

Its purpose is to prevent further acts of violence, intimidation or harassment and to ensure the safety and well-being of the person seeking protection. An AVO aims to establish boundaries and restrict contact between the parties involved. 

Let’s consider an example to better understand the context of an AVO. Sarah, a victim of domestic violence, seeks protection from her abusive partner, John. Sarah, feeling unsafe and fearful for her well-being, decides to apply for an AVO. The court reviews her application and, if satisfied, grants the AVO, which then prohibits John from contacting or approaching Sarah, her residence, workplace or any other specified locations.

An AVO is not a criminal charge but a civil order aimed at preventing future violence or harassment. It can be obtained by the affected person or initiated by the police on their behalf. However, breaching the conditions of an AVO can lead to criminal charges. If you find yourself on the receiving end of an AVO, it is crucial to understand your rights and seek legal advice from an AVO lawyer to defend yourself effectively.

Is There a False AVO Claim?

False or exaggerated claims of violence can unfortunately occur, and you need to determine whether you are facing a false AVO claim. In some instances, individuals may use an AVO as a means of gaining leverage or seeking revenge. 

A frivolous AVO claim refers to a situation where someone deliberately provides fraudulent information or makes false accusations in order to obtain an AVO against another person. This can involve baseless allegations of violence, threats or intimidation. 

It is also possible for the police to mistakenly file for an AVO. This can occur due to various factors, such as receiving inaccurate information, misinterpreting the circumstances of the situation or making errors during their investigation. They might also unknowingly act upon deceptive or misleading information provided by a third party. These factors can contribute to the filing of a false or erroneous AVO by the police.

How Do You Defend Yourself Against an AVO?

Defending yourself against an apprehended violence order requires careful consideration and strategic planning. Here are some crucial steps to take:

The first and most important step is to consult with an experienced AVO lawyer who specialises in defending clients against personal violence orders. A knowledgeable lawyer will assess your situation, guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.

Gather Evidence

Evidence plays a crucial role in any defence strategy. Collect all relevant documentation, messages, emails or other forms of communication that can support your case. Eyewitness accounts, character references or any other evidence that demonstrates your non-violent nature can also strengthen your defence.

Construct a Defence Strategy

A skilled AVO lawyer in Sydney will help you build a solid defence strategy based on the evidence gathered. They will analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case and identify any inconsistencies or contradictions that can be challenged.

Cross-Examine the Complainant

During the court proceedings, your AVO lawyer will have the opportunity to cross-examine the person who filed the AVO against you. Through strategic questioning, they can expose any inconsistencies or ulterior motives behind the allegations, thus weakening the credibility of the complainant’s claims.

What Do You Need to Prove to Beat an AVO?

To successfully defend against an AVO, you need to provide evidence that disproves the allegations made against you. Here are the key elements you must establish:

  • Lack of Reasonable Fear: It is crucial to demonstrate that the complainant did not genuinely fear for their safety or wellbeing. This can be achieved by presenting evidence that contradicts the claims, such as a history of amicable interactions or the absence of any prior incidents of violence.
  • Lack of Evidence: If the allegations made against you lack substantial evidence, it weakens the prosecution’s case. Your AVO lawyer will thoroughly examine the evidence provided by the complainant and challenge its reliability or credibility.
  • Self-Defence or Justification: In some cases, you may have acted in self-defence or in defence of others. If you can prove that your actions were reasonable and necessary to protect yourself or others from harm, it can be a valid defence against an AVO.

If you are facing an AVO, don’t navigate the legal system alone. At Jackson John Defence Lawyers, we have a dedicated team of experienced AVO lawyers in Sydney who are committed to protecting your rights and providing you with the best possible defence. We are here to provide you with the legal help you need and fight for your rights. Remember, when it comes to defending yourself against an AVO, having a skilled and dedicated legal team on your side can make all the difference.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.