Our Video and Blog post below talks about how AVOs work.
An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a court issued document which is intended to protect a person and their dependents from the threat of violence or harassment from someone else.
Being the subject of an AVO can deter against committing a criminal offence as there are severe penalties for breaking the terms of an AVO and having one in place can provide reassurance to the person in need of protection (PINOP).
Who can take out an AVO?
Anyone who feels they are under threat of violence or harassment from another person can apply for an AVO.
In some cases, such as where there is a question of domestic violence the police will take out an AVO on someone else’s behalf.
As well as domestic violence situations AVOs can be taken out on neighbours, family members and anybody else who is likely to threaten another person or harass them.
If they are taken out under the appropriate circumstances AVOs can be effective as a way of protecting vulnerable people from the threat of violence.
Unfortunately they don’t always work and they can on occasion be taken out against someone without justification or as an act of malice.
Do I need a criminal lawyer to take out an AVO?
Whether or not you need a lawyer depends on the circumstances surrounding your AVO.
In domestic violence cases, or where domestic violence is suspected the police will take out an AVO on your behalf.
For private applications you can represent yourself but to give yourself the best chance of success it is probably a good idea to hire an experienced criminal lawyer.
How do I apply for a private AVO?
You can apply for a private AVO at your local court as long as you are aged over 16.
You can fill out the forms at the court registry and the matter will be listed generally within a few weeks.
If you are unsure how to fill out a private AVO application a criminal solicitor can help you.
What happens if the terms of the AVO are breached?
If someone has an AVO against them they will be required to abide by a number of conditions.
These may include where they live, who they live with and what contact if any they have with the PINOP.
There are severe penalties associated with breaching the terms of an AVO including imprisonment and a criminal conviction.
How long do AVOs last?
AVOs vary in duration and can last for anything from six months to years.
The length of the AVO will be clearly stated on the document.
If you are the subject of an AVO it is important that you are aware of the time frame so that you don’t inadvertently breach the terms and face further penalties.
Can I withdraw or cancel an AVO?
If you have made the AVO yourself through the courts you should be able to withdraw or cancel it if your circumstances change and you no longer fear violence or harassment from the other person.
If police took out the AVO on your behalf you may not be able to withdraw it and it could still go ahead even if you don’t want it to.
If someone has taken out an AVO against you and you don’t believe it is justified it is important to speak to a defence lawyer as soon as possible.
It is possible to defend yourself successfully against an AVO in many cases and a good lawyer can help you prepare the necessary evidence and speak in court on your behalf.