This article was written by Trudie Cameron - Senior Associate – Sydney

Trudie is an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law and practices exclusively in criminal and traffic law. Trudie defends clients charged with both state and commonwealth offences and appears on their behalf in Local and District Courts. Trudie has also instructed Counsel in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court....

Apprehended Violence Orders


Domestic violence can involve a wide range of behaviour, including physical, emotional and verbal abuse, as well as stalking and intimidating a person with intent to harm. Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) may be issued to protect a person from such behaviour.

Different Orders Courts Can Make

There are two different types of AVOs. These are generally made in the Local Court by a Magistrate.

1) Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs): This order protects a person from violence, threats and harassment from a person with whom they share a “domestic relationship” with, such as a spouse, de facto partner, ex-partner, family member, carer or person living in the same household.

2) Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs): This order protects a person from violence, threats and harassment from any person that they are not in a domestic or family relationship with, and have never been in a relationship with.

What Types of Behaviour Can AVOs Restrict?

Every AVO made by a court prohibits:

  • assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or otherwise interfering with the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.
  • engaging in any other conduct that intimidates the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.
  • stalking the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.
  • destroying or damaging the property of the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.

These are known as the mandatory orders.

An AVO may also include additional orders. Additional orders may include, but are not limited to:

  • prohibiting or restricting the defendant from approaching or contacting the protected person.
  • prohibiting or restricting the defendant from approaching or entering the protected person’s home, workplace or any place the protected person frequents.
  • prohibiting or restricting the defendant from approaching or contacting the protected person within 12 hours of consuming illicit drugs or alcohol.

A court may also impose any prohibitions or restrictions on the defendant’s behaviour which appear necessary or desirable to the court, and to ensure the safety and protection of the person who needs the protection and any children from domestic or personal violence.

Provisional Orders

A provisional order is a temporary order that an NSW Police Officer can make for a specified period, until either an interim order has been made or the application has been determined by a court. A provisional order has the same effect as a final order.

Interim Orders

Interim orders are temporary orders that a court can make until the application has been determined in full. An interim order has the same effect as a final order. It remains in force until final orders are made (unless the order is revoked) or the application is withdrawn by police (or a private applicant) or dismissed by the court.

If the defendant is at court when the order is made, the Interim AVO starts immediately. If the defendant is not at court when the order is made, it starts when the defendant receives a copy of the Interim AVO.

Final Orders

A final AVO can be made for as long as the court believes it is necessary to ensure the person’s protection. Before making a final order, one of two things must happen. Either, the defendant must consent to the final order, or, if the defendant does not consent, the application must proceed to hearing and be determined after hearing all of the evidence. Alternatively, if a defendant is not present at court a Magistrate can make a final order in their absence.

If a defendant does not consent to the making of a final order, the court can only make a final order if after hearing all the evidence,  it is satisfied that:

  • the protected person has reasonable grounds to fear and in fact does fear that the defendant will commit a personal violence offence against them, or that the defendant will intimidate or stalk them; and
  • such conduct is sufficient to warrant the making of an order.

However, the court can make a final order regardless of whether the above conditions are fulfilled, if:

  • the protected person is a child;
  • the person has a significant intellectual disability; or
  • the court thinks that the defendant has committed or is likely to commit a personal violence offence against the protected person, and the making of the order is necessary to protect the person from further violence.

Property Recovery Orders

A magistrate can also make an order to allow the victim to recover their property from the defendant or to allow the defendant to collect their property from the protected person’s home.

Terms used in AVO applications

Applicant

The person who seeks (or has sought) an AVO. This may be the protected person (person in need of protection/PINOP), a police officer or a guardian for the protected person.

Cross-Application

When the defendant to an AVO applies for an AVO against the applicant/protected person.

Defendant

The person against whom an AVO is made or is sought to be made.

Domestic Violence

Personal violence committed against a person with whom they are in a domestic relationship with, including but not limited to:

  • A relative, spouse or de facto;
  • A person who has or has had an intimate personal relationship (e.g. boyfriend/girlfriend); or
  • A person living in the same household, but not merely as a tenant or boarder.

Informant

A police officer who makes an application for an AVO on behalf of a protected person.

Interim Order

An Order made by the court to protect a person from the defendant while the matter is going through court proceedings and yet to be finalised.

Personal Violence Offence

Personal violence offences include assaults, stalking or intimidating a person, molestation, harassment, destroy/damage property and contravening an AVO.

Protected Person/Person in Need of Protection (PINOP)

This is the person for whose protection an AVO is applied for or made.

Telephone Interim Order

An interim AVO made by a Magistrate where the application is made over the telephone.

If you require legal advice about Apprehended Violence Orders or any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

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.

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