An apprehended violence order (AVO) is made when a person feels they need protection from another person. The person who seeks protection is called the ‘protected person’, while the person they seek protection from is called the ‘defendant’.
If a person has or continues to cause you physical harm, physical assault, stalks or threatens you, or harasses or intimidates you, you have reason to seek an AVO against them. The AVO is issued to restrain them from harming you or your dependents. An AVO can also be given to protect property damage.
Compiling information to present to court to get an AVO might not be as easy, even when you have all the evidence. You might leave out crucial information required to build a watertight case against the defendant. Working with criminal lawyers who are experts in these matters ensures you get the proper assistance and guidance. You can visit websites of law firms such as https://www.criminallawgroup.com.au/ to get the right help.
That said, here are seven things worthy of knowing about an apprehended violence order:
1. Types of AVOs
There are two types of AVOs: apprehended domestic violence disorder (ADVO) and apprehended personal violence order (APVO). These orders can differ from city to city, but here the key differences between the two:
- ADVO: This order is made where you and the defendant are related, have or have had an intimate or domestic relationship. The defendant can be your partner, ex-spouse, sibling, parent or child. You could even be living in the same house.
- APVO: This is issued against people who aren’t related and have no domestic relationship, such as a colleague, neighbour or customer.
The effect of both AVOs is the same as they’re basically intervention orders to keep you safe from further harm or protect your property from damage. Their difference, however, lies in the way you bring your case to court. The police have the obligation to apply for an AVO in instances of domestic violence.
Otherwise, anyone over the age of 16 can apply. It’s worthy of note that an AVO can be sought to protect more than one person. For instance, the order can protect a spouse and their children from the defendant spouse.
2. Grounds for Obtaining An AVO
The court will only issue an AVO if you and your team can prove that the defendant is likely to commit the offences that the order is being sought for. These offences include the following:
- That domestic violence has been, is being or will be committed against you.
- A person is intimidating or stalking you so as to cause you physical or mental fear or harm.
- An offence is ongoing or will be committed against a minor under your care.
- Property has, is or will be destroyed or damaged.
If you can prove these circumstances in court, they’ll likely grant the AVO in your favour.
3. How Long Does an AVO Last?
The court will issue an AVO for the period it deems necessary to protect you and keep you safe from the defendant. For instance, an order can be valid for when the defendant is in rehab to recover from drug addiction. If it doesn’t contain an expiry date, it remains in force for one year from the date of issue. However, you can get an extension if you can provide compelling evidence to court.
4. Restrictions Under AVO
The restrictions under an AVO are different in each case. Some notable examples that the defendant will be prohibited from are:
- being in a specified radius from your home or workplace.
- contacting you through texts, calls, email or any social media platform.
- using a third party to contact you; or
- stalking you.
When you know the defendant has broken the conditions set in the AVO, reach out to your local authorities immediately.
5. Can an AVO Be Varied or Cancelled?
A change in circumstances can cause an AVO to be varied or cancelled. Variations include extensions or reductions of the duration of the AVO. Orders can also be added, deleted or changed.
Often when an AVO is cancelled, parties will have resolved their issues. The variations can be made either by you, the authorities or the defendant.
6. Is an AVO A Criminal Conviction?
Contrary to popular belief, AVO proceedings are civil and not criminal in nature. Therefore, they don’t leave a criminal record. However, breaching an AVO becomes a criminal offence. For example, if the defendant threatens or intimidates you during the pendency of the order, they can attract a fine or serve a jail term.
7. Consequences of an AVO
When an interim, provisional or final AVO is made against the defendant, the police will likely seize their firearms. Their firearms license will be suspended for ten years. That will automatically keep them from working any job that requires the use of a firearm.
They can also be prevented from living with their family or accessing their children for the period the order is in force. Furthermore, an AVO will restrict the defendant from certain employment opportunities.
Living under constant fear can negatively impact the quality of your life. You and your loved ones may be victims of domestic violence or feel threatened by someone you are not related to. Getting an apprehended violence order is the best way for the law to protect you.