An Apprehend Personal Violence Order (APVO) is a type of Apprehended Violence Order, which can be made by a court to protect a person(s) where violence has been apprehended. This type of order is made where there is not a domestic relationship between the person who fears violence may occur and the person whom it is feared may commit a violent act. AVO’s and APVO’s work by imposing legal restraints on a defendant from doing certain things, such as contacting certain people or attending certain locations.
An APVO can be made via Section 19 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (the Act).
Requirements for an APVO to be made
The person who makes the APVO application must have reasonable grounds to fear and in fact does fear that a personal violence offence or behavior which intimidates them or is considered to be stalking, may be committed against them or their children or a person living in their residence. An example is where there is a dispute with neighbours in a block of apartments.
Section 7 of the Act defines intimidation as:
(a) conduct (including cyberbullying) amounting to harassment or molestation of the person, or
(b) an approach made to the person by any means (including by telephone, text messaging, e-mailing and other technologically assisted means) that causes the person to fear for his or her safety, or
(c) any conduct that causes a reasonable apprehension of injury to a person or to a person with whom he or she has a domestic relationship, or of violence or damage to any person or property.
An example of cyberbullying is provided in the Act: the bullying of a person by publication or transmission of offensive material over social media or via email.
If the person whose protection the order would be made is a child or the person is, in the opinion of the court, suffering from an appreciably below average general intelligence function, it is not necessary for the court to be satisfied that they in fact fear that such an offence will be committed.
The law provides that conduct which would prove the element of fear required for an APVO must be ‘beyond rude, offensive or boorish’. For example, telling a person to ‘F… off’ on a once off occasion will not amount to the requirements for an APVO to be made.
Where an application for an APVO is made, the court may make an interim apprehended domestic violence order or interim apprehended personal violence order if the court is satisfied it is necessary to do so on the balance of probabilities. The court must consider the safety of the person who is applying to be protected and any children whether directly or indirectly affected by the relevant conduct and any pattern of violence by the defendant.
In considering whether or not to make an apprehended violence order, the court will take into consideration the safety and protection of the person making the application and any child directly or indirectly affected by the conduct of the defendant. The court will also consider any hardship which may be caused to the protected person by making or not making the order.
Mediation before APVO made
If an APVO application is made to a court, the court in considering whether to make the order will refer the protected person and the defendant for mediation unless it is satisfied that there is good reason not to do so. The court may decide not to refer the protected person and the defendant for mediation if:
Is it a crime to have an AVO made against me?
It is not a crime in itself to have an AVO made against you.
An AVO is a very serious order to be made by a court and contravention of an APVO is a serious criminal offence. Under Section 14 of the Act a person who knowingly contravenes a prohibition or restriction specified in an AVO made against the person is guilty of an offence. A person who contravenes an AVO faces imprisonment for up to 2 years or 50 penalty points ($5,500.00) or both.
If an AVO is made against you, or an AVO is granted by a court, you should obtain advice from a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. A criminal defence lawyer can advise you on your rights and the best steps to take to ensure your interests are protected.
For more information and to speak with a apprehended violence order specialists, call George Sten & Co on (02) 9261 8640. We are available 24 hours a day. We can also be contacted on 0412 423 569 is located at Suite C4, Ground Floor 185 Elizabeth Street.