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Apprehended violence orders

An apprehended violence order is an order that restricts the behaviour of a person for the protection of another person. There are two types of apprehended violence orders – personal and domestic. The information below relates to situations where an AVO is sought and there are no criminal charges. Where there is an application for an AVO and there are also criminal charges arising out of the same incident the process followed is different.

Domestic apprehended violence orders

Domestic AVO’s are made when there is or has been a domestic relationship between two people. The definition of domestic relationship is very broad. If police are contacted in relation to a domestic incident there are circumstances where they must apply for an apprehended violence order. This occurs even if the alleged victim in the matter expressly indicates that they do not want an AVO to be applied for. Police are legally required to make an application for an apprehended violence order if they believe that a domestic violence offence:

  • Has been committed
  • Is being committed
  • Is imminent or likely to be committed

Personal apprehended violence orders

Personal AVO’s are made when there is no domestic relationship between the parties. These are common where the dispute is between neighbours. Except in the case of serious assaults, police do not generally apply for a personal AVO on someone’s behalf. In most instances a personal AVO is initiated by the applicant attending court and making an application through the registrar.

Stages of an apprehended violence order

There are four stages to an AVO. These depend on how they were applied for and what stage of the court process they are up to: Application: This is when the application is first made. The order is not enforceable at this time. AVO’s that are non-enforceable applications are usually either personal AVO’s from the court, or domestic AVO’s that the police have not deemed serious enough to warrant a provisional order. Provisional: A provisional AVO is enforceable. These are usually issued by a senior police officer in connection with an allegation of domestic violence. A provisional AVO remains enforceable until it is either revoked, made an interim order or final order, or it is withdrawn or dismissed. Interim: An interim AVO is enforceable and is made by a court where it is deemed necessary and appropriate. Provisional orders are normally made into interim orders after the first court appearance. They remain enforceable until they are either revoked, made a final order, or it is withdrawn or dismissed. Final: A final AVO is enforceable and is usually made at the end of court proceedings. They are usually enforceable for one to two years although can be longer.

What if I want to oppose an AVO being made

If you have been served with an apprehended violence order that you do not agree with there is a process that must be followed. This process is set out in the Local Court Practice Note and involves the court setting a timetable. On the first appearance you or your lawyer indicate that the AVO is opposed and request a timetable to be set. The court then sets the following dates:

  1. Applicant to serve: This is the date on which the applicant for the AVO (quite often the police) are required to serve all of the evidence they rely upon. They usually serve this on the defendant and also file a copy at the court.
  2. Defence to serve: This is the date on which the defendant is required to serve all of the evidence they rely upon in response to the application.  They usually serve this on the defendant and also file a copy at the court.
  3. Compliance mention: All parties return to court and the court ensures that parties have complied with the orders to serve their evidence. If so, the matter is allocated a hearing date. If not, the matter is usually adjourned.
  4. Hearing: At a hearing for an apprehended violence order the court reads the evidence from each party. Witnesses may also be called to give evidence and also be cross examined by the other party. The court then determines if a final apprehended violence order will be made or the matter will be dismissed.

What does the court decide in an AVO hearing

To make a final apprehended violence order after hearing all the evidence, a court needs to be satisfied that the protected person has reasonable grounds to fear, and does in fact fear, that the defendant will commit an offence against them. The standard of proof for these matters is on the balance of probabilities which means the court needs to find that it is more probable than not.

What if I want to vary or revoke the AVO

An interested party may apply to the court to vary the conditions of an apprehended violence. An interested party may be the applicant, protected person, defendant, or the police. Applications need to be lodged at court and allocated a date on which they will be heard. Our lawyers regularly represent clients who are seeking to vary the conditions of an AVO or have the AVO revoked.

Why choose Marsh Blom Lawyers

Marsh Blom Lawyers are experts in traffic and criminal law. All of our lawyers are experienced in domestic violence matters and apprehended violence orders. Our firm was started by two former police prosecutors who not only handled dozens of these matters every day in court but also used to investigate domestic violence matters themselves. We know the systems and processes. Our lawyers will work with you to prepare your matter and then represent you at court. Take advantage of our obligation free case assessment and find out how we can get the best outcome for your matter.