An apprehended violence order is an order made by a Court that provides for the protection of a Person In Need Of Protection (PINOP) or complainant. It prohibits the person who is listed as the defendant in the AVO from engaging in certain behaviour or attending certain locations, such as the PINOP’s home or place of work.
A member of the public can attend a court and apply for an apprehended violence order or they can be issued by a police officer.
An ADVO is an order involving two or more persons that have a or have had a domestic relationship. People deemed to be in a domestic relationship can include spouses, relatives such as fathers mother, brothers, sisters etc., people who have lived in the same household, and people who have been in an intimate relationship with each other.
Recently this definition was expanded to include persons who have both had a domestic relationship with the same person, i.e. a person’s ex-partner and current partner.
An APVO is identical to an ADVO but relates to persons who are not in a domestic relationship, for example friends, neighbours and work colleagues.
The NSW Police have a policy regarding domestic violence that calls for a zero tolerance approach. This means that they will often take out an ADVO even though they have not charged a person with a domestic violence offence.
Therefore, even if a persons partner does not provide a statement to police, they can still take out an ADVO on behalf of a person if they have good reason to believe an order needs to be made immediately to ensure the safety and protection of the person or to prevent
If the Court makes a final AVO, you will not have a criminal record. However, breaching an enforceable AVO is a criminal offence. If you are convicted of breaching an AVO you could face a maximum fine of $5,500 and 2 years in prison.
If you breach an AVO in circumstances of violence then you will be sentenced to imprisonment unless the court orders otherwise
If you find yourself as the defendant in an apprehended violence order (AVO) there are a number of options available to you.
One way of responding to an AVO is to consent to the making of the order ‘without admissions.’ This simply means that you are agreeing to the AVO being made but you do not agree with what is being alleged against you in the application, also known as the ‘grounds’
Even if you were to consent to an AVO being made without admissions, the making of the order can still place certain restrictions and prohibitions on a number of areas of employment such as working with children, the security industry and even the ability to carry out agriculture and farming duties.
If your current employment involves working with children, or if you intend to engage in employment that may put you in contact with children (‘child-related work’), the making of an AVO can have serious consequences and can result in the termination of that employment.
In addition to this applying for jobs that require you to come into contact with children, will mean your potential employer will conduct a ‘working with children’ background check. This check will show to your prospective employer, any final AVOs made against you that include the making of orders for the protection of children. This includes your own children. This applies even when you agree to the making of a final AVO without admissions.
If you are the holder of NSW Firerarms licence, or intend to apply for a firearms licence in the future, being the subject of an AVO is a significant barrier. This is so even if you consent to the AVO being made without admissions.
Section 24 of the Firearms Act 1996 provides that a person’s firearms licence is automatically revoked if the licensee becomes the subject of an AVO. It is also important to remember that your firearms licence will be suspended immediately once an interim AVO is made against you.
Further, section 25 of the Firearms Act 1996 states that if your firearms licence is revoked or even suspended due to the making of an interim AVO, you must immediately surrender any firearms you own to the police.
After the making of a final AVO, you will not be able to hold a firearms licence for 10 years from the date that the order is made. That is why it is extremely important to obtain the advice of a solicitor prior to appearing at court in relation to an AVO application.
Whilst the making of a final AVO does not mean you will have a criminal record, it may affect you if you hold or are planning on holding a security licence.
For example if you become the subject of an AVO The Commissioner of police has the power to cancel your security licence or reject your security licence application, if they believe you are not a ’fit and proper person’ to hold a security licence.
If you are the holder of a Class 1F or P1F security licence and an AVO is made against you, you may be prevented from working under your licence. This could have a devastating effect on your ability to earn an income, so ensuring you have competent legal representation in any AVO matter essential.
If you agree to an AVO being made then the potential to breach the order is present for as long as the order remains in force. Breaching an AVO is a serious criminal offence and carries a maximum fine of $5,500 and maximum term of imprisonment of 2 years. It is extremely important to remember this before you consent to the making of a final AVO against you.
Having an AVO involving a family member also has the potential to cause difficulty in your family relationships.
If you find yourself having to attend court where you are the defendant in an AVO application, make sure you seek professional and expert legal advice.
At Marsh Blom Lawyers we have years of experience appearing in AVO applications as both prosecution and defence. It is because of this experience that we are able to quickly find any weakness in the prosecution’s AVO application.
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