Deciding to apply for an AVO is a difficult decision, and the application process can be stressful.
If you have reasonable grounds to fear violence or harassment from someone, an AVO can protect you against that person by laying out certain behaviours and restrictions that they must abide by.
There are two different paths to obtaining an AVO.
The police can file an application on your behalf, or you can apply for a private AVO with the help of a criminal lawyer.
Applying for a private AVO can be a lengthy procedure, and if you are considering taking this step, you will probably want to have a realistic idea of how likely it is that your application will be successful.
Although your likelihood of obtaining an AVO depends largely on the circumstances and how much evidence you have to support your claim, there are a few things you can do to help increase your chances of a successful AVO case in NSW.
What can I do to increase my chances of successfully obtaining an AVO?
If you want to have the best possible outcome in your AVO application, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you present the strongest case you can.
- Obtain legal advice before you start the process, to determine whether or not you are likely to be successful. If it is unlikely your application for an AVO will be granted, you may decide not to proceed. Applying for a private AVO can be a costly and emotionally draining process, and if you are not likely to succeed, you may want to save yourself unnecessary expenses and stress.
- Hire an experienced criminal lawyer. A lawyer with experience in applying for AVOs will be able to help you fill out the application, and gather any supporting documentation required. They can also argue your case in front of the magistrate, and make sure you comply with all the court requirements.
- Gather as much evidence as possible. Successful AVO cases in NSW depend on the applicant being able to demonstrate that they have a genuine reason to fear the defendant. Any evidence you can provide of previous violence or aggression against you, or threats that have been made towards you by the defendant, will strengthen your case.
- Remain calm during court proceedings. During the hearing, the defendant’s lawyer will probably question you, and some of the things they ask you may be intended to provoke a reaction. If you get angry, this will not reflect positively on you, so try to stay calm and answer their questions without making personal comments or getting agitated.
If your application is unsuccessful or if it is deemed ‘vexatious’ or ‘frivolous’ by the magistrate, you may be ordered to pay the legal costs for both yourself and the defendant.
In a recent survey of magistrates undertaken by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, almost 60% of magistrates surveyed stated that they only occasionally or sometimes dealt with frivolous or vexatious APVO applications.
This indicates that the unsuccessful AVO applications are in the minority, rather than the majority.
Taking the above measures can help you increase the likelihood of having a successful AVO application outcome.