AVO Quick Reference Guide – Part 1

What is an AVO?

AVO stands for Apprehended Violence Order and is an order made by the court to restrict someone from interfering, physically or otherwise, with another.

An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order is applies between domestically related parties or parties in an intimate relationship.

An Apprehended Personal Violence Order is applicable to other parties including neighbours, colleagues or former friends and associates.

When can I get one?

Some common circumstances in which it may be appropriate to apply for an AVO are as follows:

(a)   if someone has physically or sexually assaulted you;

(b)   if someone has damaged your property;

(c)   if someone has harassed you (common examples include constantly calling, messaging or interacting on social media, particularly after being told to stop);

(d)   if someone has threatened you;

(e)   if someone has stalked you by showing up at your home or work without reason; or

(f)   if someone has otherwise intimidated you and you hold reasonable concerns that they may hurt you.

How do I get one?

If you are concerned about the someone committing a personal violence offence, you should report it to police.

Police application. If the police are involved – whether by being called to the scene or you subsequently report it – and they consider it serious enough, they may apply for an AVO on your behalf. This is more common in relation to domestic disputes. Once you have given the police the relevant details, they will file the AVO with the court and give you and the defendant the paperwork advising when you have to go to court. The police then run the case on your behalf.

Private application. Should the police not intervene, you, or your solicitor on your behalf, can file the AVO directly with the court. This involves instructing your solicitor to file the application or you going to your Local Court registry and filling out the application yourself. Once again, the police or a representative of the court will give you and the defendant the paperwork advising when you have to go to court.

At court. There are two possible ways to obtain the AVO you are seeking:

(a)   the defendant agrees to the orders sought (sometimes on a ‘without admissions’ basis saying they don’t agree with your allegation but will cop the restraints you want to put on them); or

(b)   the matter goes to hearing and the Magistrate accepts that your fears are genuine and reasonable and makes the orders.

In next week’s blog, we’ll look at some of the questions about the consequences of an AVO being made by the court.

The above is not intended as legal advice. You should obtain legal advice in relation to your own specific circumstances.

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