The term ‘AVO’ is the common abbreviation for Apprehended Violence Order. An AVO is essentially an order put in place to protect an individual from another person’s violent, abusive or threatening behaviour towards them.

There are 2 types of Apprehended Violence Orders

Those taken out against a family member, spouse or ex spouse / intimate partner and those used for protection from someone other than a family member – e.g neighbours, work colleagues or random strangers, etc

If an Apprehended Violence Order has been made against you, it is wise to seek legal advice from lawyers who are experienced in Domestic Violence matters.

Why take an AVO out against someone?

The main reason people take AVOs is to deter someone from doing certain things such as contacting or approaching a person. There are severe penalties for breaking the terms of an AVO and having one in place can provide reassurance to the person in need of protection.

Where domestic relationships are concerned, an AVO will restrain someone from doing the following:

  • Stalking, harassing or intimidating
  • Making threats or committing an assault
  • Damaging or destroying property that belongs to the victim

An AVO may have other serious consequences against a person and will negatively impact that persons prospects of success in child custody disputes, as the Court considers exposing parents with an AVO in place against them to children a risk. Other things will also be impacted, such as working with clearance checks required for specific workplaces may not be approved, firearms/licenses and permits may be revoked, and even tenancy agreements may be impacted.

Who can take out an AVO?

Anyone who feels they are under threat of violence or harassment from another person can apply for an AVO.

In some cases, such as where there is a question of domestic violence the police will take out an AVO on someone else’s behalf.

As well as domestic violence situations AVOs can be taken out on neighbours, family members and anybody else who is likely to threaten another person or harass them.

How To Get An AVO?

To get an AVO, you need to demonstrate the reasons for you to fear the defendant. If you are scared or in immediate danger, you should speak to the police as soon as possible, and a provisional AVO may be implemented on your behalf. This can be done either after the police have taken an incident report or by physically going to a police station yourself.

Eventually, you will need to go to Court, where the police apply for the AVO on your behalf, and you are represented by a police prosecutor. If you would like any more information regarding this, please feel free to contact us.

Do I need a criminal lawyer to take out an AVO?

No you do not need a lawyer to take out, or defend, an AVO. However, you may like advice on how to do it and what your rights are. Whether or not you need a lawyer may actually depend on the circumstances surrounding your AVO.

In domestic violence cases, or where domestic violence is suspected the police will take out an AVO on your behalf.

For private applications you can represent yourself but to give yourself the best chance of success it is probably a good idea to hire an experienced criminal lawyer.

How do I apply for a private AVO?

You can apply for a private AVO at your local court as long as you are aged over 16.

The court registry will supply you with the forms to complete and the matter will be listed generally within a few weeks.

If you are unsure how to fill out a private AVO application a criminal solicitor from Dawson & Gardner can help you.

Can a defendant object to an Apprehended Violence Order?

A defendant may object to an AVO, and the matter will be adjourned for a defended hearing at a later date. It is common that an interim Apprehended Violence Order will be issued until the final hearing.

What are the Penalties for Breaching an AVO?

It is a criminal offence for the defendant to knowingly breach an interim or final AVO. The maximum penalty on conviction is a $5,500 fine or two years imprisonment or both. If the breach constitutes an act of violence and the defendant is at least 18 years of age, it is likely that the defendant will be sentenced to a jail term.

If someone has an AVO against them they will be required to abide by a number of conditions. These may include where they live, who they live with and what contact if any they have with the person in need of protection.

What to do if an AVO is taken out against you?

If you have had a private AVO taken out against you, the person who made the AVO through the courts can withdraw or cancel it if the circumstances change and they no longer fear violence or harassment.

If the police take out the AVO on someone’s behalf they may not be able to withdraw it and it could still go ahead even that person doesn’t want it to.

If someone has taken out an AVO against you and you don’t believe it is justified it is important to speak to a defense lawyer as soon as possible.

It is possible to defend yourself successfully against an AVO in many cases and a good lawyer can help you prepare the necessary evidence and speak in court on your behalf.

If you would like to talk to a Family Law or Criminal law solicitor please call 02 4954 8666

To read more about our family law services click HERE or criminal law services click HERE.

If you need more information or would like the help of an experienced family lawyer please contact Dawson & Gardiner. We have some of the most experienced family lawyers in Newcastle and will look after your interests.

Phone our family solicitors in Cardiff on (02) 4954 8666