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In NSW the law makes it clear that police must make an application for an AVO if they suspect or believe that a domestic violence offence (DVO) has recently been or is being committed, or is imminent, or is likely to be committed, against the person for whose protection an order would be made.
The NSW Police have an internal domestic and family violence policy. This policy makes includes the following quote:
"The NSW Police Force will use a proactive approach in dealing with offenders. This approach requires police to not only respond to incidents of domestic and family violence and give strongest consideration to arrest, but to develop strategies to reduce the negative behaviour of offenders who have had AVO applications consistently withdrawn."
"The NSW Police Force is committed to using all lawful means to policing domestic and family violence. This includes wherever possible, removing offenders from the victim, taking out an AVO on behalf of victims and any children living or spending time with the victim (whether they are by consent or not), investigating breaches of AVOs, and developing solutions to managing repeat offenders."
For over a decade the NSW Police have had a policy to actively arrest alleged offenders of domestic violence despite the wishes of the alleged victim. In November 2008 the NSW Police service published a domestic and family violence policy. The NSW Police have an internal domestic and family violence policy. This policy makes includes the following quote:
"The NSW Police Force encourages police to give the strongest consideration to arrest offenders of domestic and family violence. The safety, protection and wellbeing of victims are of paramount concern to police."
"The NSW Police Force enforces a pro prosecution response to the investigation and management of domestic and family violence. Charges will be laid against offenders where evidence exists to support criminal charges."
The answer is yes, but rarely occurs. It is clear that the NSW Police are determined that alleged domestic violence offenders are prosecuted before the courts for their actions. Unfortunately, this often means that most cases continue to court are proceeded with despite the merit of the submissions made by the alleged victim or alleged offender.
The NSW Police service's domestic and family violence policy also states:
"Offenders of violence will be held accountable and challenged to take responsibility for their actions."
If the alleged victim in a domestic violence case does not appear at court a number of things may occur including:
An AVO is not a criminal charge and if the court makes an AVO you wont get a criminal record. However, you and AVO can have some serious consequences. They include:
If you breach an AVO you can be charged with the offence of contravene AVO. The maximum penalty for contravening an AVO is a fine of $5,500 and a prison sentence for 2 years.
Section 14(4) of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal violence) Act states that unless the court otherwise orders, a person who is convicted of an offence of contravening an AVO must be sentenced to a jail term if the offence involved an act of violence against a person.
If you want to agree with an AVO or dont care if one is made there may be no real advantage in having a lawyer appear for you. Although, they can take the fear out of the court appearance for you.
If you are disagee with the making of an AVO we recommend that you use a lawyer who specialises in criminal law and has experience in running hearings in the local court in domestic violence matters. You really need a lawyer who is good at cross examination.
Every AVO must, without exception, include the following conditions the following mandatory conditions:
Other Conditions that can be Imposed
The court also make and order imposing other conditions. These conditions can include:
(a) An order prohibiting or restricting approaches by the defendant to the protected person,
(b) An order restricting the defendant fromprohibiting or restricting access by the defendant to any or all of the following:
(c) An order restricting the defendant from approaching the protected person, or any such premises or place, within 12 hours of consuming intoxicating liquor or drugs,
(d) An order restricting the defendant from possession of firearms,
(e) An order restricting the defendant from destroying or deliberately damaging the protected person's property,
(f) An order restricting the defendant from behaviour by the defendant that might affect the protected person.
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.