Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)
We appear for both Applicants (the person in need of protection) and Defendants (the person against whom an AVO is being made) in Apprehended Violence Order proceedings.
What is an Apprehended Violence Order?
An AVO is an order made by a court against a person who makes another (known as the person in need of protection or PINOP) fear intimidation, harassment or for their safety. All Apprehended Violence Orders provide a Defendant:
- Must not assault, molest, harass or threaten the PINOP or a person with whom the PINOP is in a domestic relationship;
- Must not intimidate the PINOP or a person with whom the PINOP is in a domestic relationship;
- Must not stalk the PINOP or a person with whom the PINOP is in a domestic relationship.
Other conditions can include stopping a person from contacting the PINOP and attending their residence or work.
Is an Apprehended Violence Order a criminal offence?
An AVO is not a criminal charge and it will not give you as criminal record. Although having an AVO made against you will not result in a criminal record, there can be consequences beyond the making of the AVO itself. These include:
- Any firearms you have must be given in to the police and you cannot get a new firearms licence until 10 years after the AVO has ended.
- An AVO can also affect your licence to work as a security officer, a police officer or other specific jobs.
- If the AVO includes children, the Commission for Children and Young People may be notified and your ability to work with children may be affected.
What happens if I breach an AVO?
Where an AVO is made against you and you are accused of breaching the AVO, you will be charged with a criminal offence. If you are found guilty, you may be subject to considerable penalties, including a criminal record. The maximum penalty for breaching an Apprehended Violence Order is a fine of $5500.00 and/or two years imprisonment.
What happens in Apprehended Violence Order proceedings?
An application for an AVO can be made by:
- A police officer on behalf of the protected person; or
- Any person above the age of 16 who lodges an application with the Local Court to be the protected person under an Apprehended Violence Order
At court, assuming the Applicant wants to proceed with the Apprehended Violence Order, the Defendant may:
- Give a formal promise (undertaking) to the court to stop the behaviour causing the protected person to fear you and no Apprehended Violence Order will be made – this is not uncommon in personal applications but is extremely rare where a police officer is the applicant.
- Agree to the Apprehended Violence Order being made, without admitting any of the allegations.
- Defend the application for the AVO and a Magistrate will decide whether to make the AVO or dismiss the Application.
What happens if Apprehended Violence Order proceedings are defended?
If the police applied for the AVO on behalf of the protected person, they will represent the protected person and serve a Brief of Evidence on the Defendant. In cases where an Application is made privately by a civilian, the Applicant may be ordered to serve statements comprised of evidence against you and you may be ordered to serve statements in your defence.
The process the Apprehended Violence Order proceedings follow is:
- First court appearance and a timetable for evidence is ordered;
- The Applicant serves statements comprised of evidence against you;
- The Defendant serves statements comprised of evidence in defence;
- A second court date confirms compliance with the timetable;
- Hearing court date where the evidence is heard.
At the hearing date:
- The prosecution calls evidence first. The statements of the prosecution witnesses are tendered and each witness is cross-examined by the defence lawyer;
- At the close of the prosecution case, the defence calls evidence. The statements of the defence witnesses are tendered and each witness is cross-examined by the prosecutor;
- During the course of the proceedings, objections can sometimes be made to the evidence being tendered;
- At the end of the defence case both the prosecution and defence submit on the evidence and the law as to why the AVO should or should not be made, and the Magistrate decides whether to make the AVO and on what conditions?
What is the law in relation to Apprehended Violence Orders?
In order for the court to make an Apprehended Violence Order against you, the Applicant must establish on the balance of probabilities:
- They, or the protected person fears that the Defendant will be violent towards them, harass them or intimidate or stalk them (this is a subjective test, which means that it is based on what the protected person actually feels); and
- The protected person’s fear is based on reasonable grounds (this is an objective test, which means it is based on whether the court believes that a person in the protected person’s situation would feel the same as the protected person).
The fear is at the time the Apprehended Violence Order is actually being sought.
Why choose AC Law Group’s criminal lawyers?
We are a firm that specialises in criminal law, including Apprehended Violence Orders, and we do not employ junior solicitors who are inexperienced in such matters. We appear in applications for Apprehended Violence Orders on a daily basis in courts and understand the law in relation to them and how to present your evidence and refute the evidence against you.
Contact our criminal law offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern to discuss your prospects of applying for or defending an apprehended violence order.