APPREHENDED VIOLENCE ORDERS – AVO’S
Apprehended Violence Orders or AVO’s as they are more commonly known, are orders made under State or Territory laws that provide a quick and flexible method of obtaining legal protection from many forms of violence. Such violence includes physical abuse (through the use of physical force, known as ‘battery’), sexual abuse, and psychological abuse. Often, AVO requests are filed in conjunction with allegations of assault.
George Sten & Co are one of Sydney’s leading Criminal Lawyers. Our experienced criminal lawyers practice exclusively in crime. If you are in need of an Apprehended Violence Order, or your have been served with an AVO and need to defend it, you will need an experienced criminal law firm to defend you.
Assault, as per Section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) is an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Section 61 makes such an offence one that is indictable with a maximum prison term of 2 years.
Breaches of an AVO Apprehended Violence Order and allegations of assault in familial settings, which constitute domestic violence are taken seriously courts.
WHAT IS AN AVO Apprehended Violence Order ?
An AVO is court order designed to protect a person who reasonably fears personal violence, and harassment from a specified person. AVO’s prohibit intimidation of the protected person by restricting the defendant from approaching a protected person in any place the protected person often attends, their home and/or their work. The protected person or the person in need of protection is often known as the PINOP. This is the person for whose protection an AVO is made. The defendant is the person against whom an AVO is made or sought to be made. The complainant, often either the PINOP or a police officer is the person who seeks or has sought an AVO.
It is to be noted that while most AVOs are taken against a domestic partner, they can also be taken on a personal basis to protect oneself from an individual whom they are not in a domestic relationship with. This type of an AVO is known as Apprehended Personal Violence Orders or APVOs.
Domestic violence includes personal violence committed against a relative, spouse or de facto of the defendant. It also includes a person who has or has had an intimate relationship with the defendant, ora person living in the same household as the defendant but not merely as a tenant. It is a personal violence offence when the defendant breaches the AVO or engages in prohibited behavior.
HOW DO AVOs PROTECT THE PINOP?
AVOs protect the PINOP through restricting the defendant from certain behaviors. Usually, the court may impose any prohibitions or restrictions on the defendant’s behavior on a discretionary basis, and to ensure the safety and protection of the person who needs the protection and as well as any children involved from domestic violence.
All AVOs prohibit assault. It is to be noted that assaults do not require actual physical harm, a threat of such harm is sufficient. They also prohibit molestation, harassment, and other behaviors which interfere with the PINOP who is in a domestic relationship with the defendant. Generally, any and all other conduct that intimidates the PINOP is prohibited under an AVO. This includes stalking. In short, AVOs restrict access the defendant has to the PINOP. In doing so, they provide a safe haven for the PINOP.
ADVICE FOR THOSE SEEKING AN AVO APPREHENDED VIOLNCE ORDER
If you feel as though you seek protection in the form of an AVO, an application must be made to the local court. The application can be made in person, by a police officer or by a criminal lawyer acting on your behalf. If immediate protection is needed, an interim order can be issued by the Magistrate. An interim order is an order made by the court to protect the PINOP from the defendant before the hearing. These can also be made by a magistrate over the phone.
An interim order has the same effect as a final order, and remains in force until final orders are made, unless the order is revoked or the complaint is withdrawn or dismissed.
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 order.
A provisional order can also be applied for by a police officer if he/she is attending the incident between the PINOP and the defendant where it may not be practical for the PINOP to personally apply.
In order to attain a final AVO, the court must be satisfied beyond reasonable belief that it is necessary to ensure the person’s protection. Namely, the court must be satisfied that the PINOP has reasonable grounds to fear and does in fact fear the defendant will commit personal violence against him/her or will engage in intimidating conduct. Such an apprehension is enough to evoke an AVO and assault charges.
The court may also grant final orders based on discretion if the person seeking an AVO is under the age or 16, intellectually disabled etc.
An experienced Apprehended Violence Order Lawyer will be able to assist in tailoring your
AVO to suit your needs.
ADVISE FOR DEFENDANTS
When served with an AVO, the defendant can either plead guilty or oppose the charge once in Court at the time of the hearing. The defendant may also file a cross-application wherein the defendant seeks an AVO against the complainant who has taken an AVO against the defendant.
As a matter of law, police are obligated to take action once a complaint is made in regard to issues of domestic violence. This is the case unless the police doubt the veracity of the claim. However, even in those situations it is likely an application will be made as a precaution. The police may also bring assault charges as it is up to the police, not the PINOP to decide whether an assault charge is deemed necessary.
If you are charged and arrested with the contravention of an AVO, and are convicted, you can be fined 5,500 dollars and/or imprisoned for up to 2 years. Especially if the breach involves violence, the changes of a prison sentence increase.
II BREACH APPREHENDED VIOLENCE ORDER
As a defendant, you will breach an AVO if you engage in behavior that contradicts the terms of the AVO. In such a case, the police have the authority to arrest you and charge you with the criminal offence of contravening the AVO along with other criminal charges such as assault. This may result in a conviction which will occur on record. AVO allegations, breaches and charges of assault have grave consequences and thus it is highly recommended to have appropriate legal assistance from our experienced Apprehend Violence Order Lawyers Sydney.
An experienced criminal lawyer will also be able to determine whether you have been served the AVO in a proper manner, without which a subsequent charge cannot be filed. They can also protect you in cases where you may have unknowingly breached your AVO without intending to do so. Call our experienced Apprehended Violence Order Lawyers today.