Apprehended Violence Orders, or AVOs, are a type of court order that is designed to protect people from becoming victims of violence. An AVO can be taken out by the police, or by an individual, if it is believed that they are at risk of violence from another person. When an AVO is taken out, the defendant will be required to adhere to certain restrictions that are listed on the AVO. These can include limitations around contacting the person who took out the AVO, accessing their workplace or home, and having contact with the children of the person.
What do I do if I disagree with an AVO against me?
AVOs are sometimes taken out by overly zealous police officers, or vengeful ex-partners, with no real justification. Having an AVO taken out against you can be a distressing experience, and can have a real impact on your lifestyle, including your ability to find certain types of employment in the future, and to hold a firearms licence. It can also affect your relationships with friends and family, particularly those who are protected under the AVO.
If you feel that an AVO has been taken out against you unfairly, you can argue your case at a hearing. If you disagree with an AVO made against you, you can tell the magistrate at the first hearing, and the matter will then be adjourned till a later date. This will give you time to obtain legal advice, and prepare your case. You will need to present evidence to support your claim, and the other person will need to do the same.
If you are appearing in court, it is a good idea to seek legal representation rather than trying to defend yourself. Once the magistrate has heard all the evidence, they will make a decision as to whether to grant an AVO or not. If they decide to grant the AVO, and you still disagree with the decision, you can appeal in the district court.
How do I get an AVO dismissed?
There are a few defences to AVOs, which may be able to help you get an AVO dismissed. These include self-defence, and if the person taking out the AVO is unable to provide enough evidence to prove that they are at risk of violent behaviour from you. For an AVO to go ahead, the complainant needs to prove that there is more probability than not that they are at risk of violence, or stalking or harassment from you. If there is no substance to their claim, and they can’t support it, the AVO will be dismissed.
What is an interim AVO?
If you disagree with an AVO against you and request to have the matter adjourned, you may be given a temporary or interim AVO to cover the time period between the initial hearing and your next court date.
The magistrate may ask you whether or not you agree and even if you disagree they may still go ahead with the interim AVO. If you have been served with an interim AVO, you must abide by the terms on it until your hearing.
Having an AVO against you can have serious long-term consequences, so it is important to think carefully before you agree to an AVO. It is possible to have an AVO dismissed. If you are unsure what to do, seek legal advice as soon as possible.