Having an AVO taken out against you can be a difficult and stressful experience, particularly if it is unjustified.
An AVO, or Apprehended Violence Order, is a court order that is intended to protect one person or persons from the threat of violence or harassment from another person.
AVOs can be taken out against friends, neighbours, work colleagues, family members and partners, and they often restrict the behaviour of the person they are taken out against.
Being on the receiving end of a false AVO can significantly inconvenience you, and affect your lifestyle and even where you live.
Why do people take out false AVOs?
There are a number of reasons why someone might take out a false AVO against someone else, including malice, lack of understanding of the severity of an AVO, or a belief that serving you with an AVO will somehow give them an advantage.
If you believe that someone has taken out an unjustified AVO against you for any reason it is important to seek legal advice, so you can understand your rights and have the best chance of successfully defending yourself.
What can I do about a false AVO?
If you are on the receiving end of a false AVO, you can choose to accept the terms, which will save you money in legal costs, or you can decide to defend yourself against it.
Although accepting the terms of the AVO may seem like the path of least resistance, this may not be the case in the long term.
If you are falsely accused of then breaching the terms of the AVO for example, you may find yourself facing a hearing and a potential criminal conviction.
Defending yourself against a false AVO
If you want to defend yourself against an AVO taken out against you, you will need a lawyer to help you. It is important that you attend court when requested – not turning up may mean that an AVO is made in your absence.
AVO cases are decided on a balance of probabilities, which means that you will need to convince the court that it is less probable that you will assault or harass the other person than not.
Having no previous history of violence or aggression, as well as providing witnesses to refute any claims made by the other person, may be helpful in proving this.
It is common for the court to take out an interim AVO for the period of time between the original complaint being made, and the court hearing to decide the matter.
If you have been served with an interim AVO, it is important that you don’t breach the terms in any way, as this can weaken your defence and lead to more severe penalties.
Being the subject of an AVO can be extremely distressing, and depending on the terms of the order, and if you are restricted from being within a certain distance of the person who took out the AVO against you, it can have a significant impact on your life, your ability to hold down a job, or even to live where you want to.
If you are the subject of a false AVO, make sure you seek the best possible legal advice to help you defend yourself, and reduce the impact a false AVO can have on your life and future.