Understanding on Apprehended Violence Orders

Welcome to St Walter Lawyers' in-depth guide on Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) in New South Wales. This guide offers essential insights and professional legal perspectives on navigating AVOs, from understanding their legal framework to effectively managing their implications. Whether you are seeking to apply for an AVO, defend against one, or simply understand their impact, our expert guidance will provide clarity and direction.

Complete Guide on Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) in NSW

1. Key Takeaways
Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) in New South Wales (NSW) are legal orders aimed at protecting individuals from violence, harassment, or intimidation. Understanding the key aspects of AVOs, including their nature, legal implications, and potential consequences, is crucial for anyone involved in such matters.

As you will read at paragraph [3], importantly, an AVO is a civil application for the protection of individual/s from another. This is important because the civil burden of proof is a lower level than the criminal. The applicant, either the Police or a person making an application privately, will need to prove on the balance of probabilities that they can demonstrate fear of the defendant based on conduct that can be proved in evidence. Proving it in evidence will be done on balance, meaning more than 50% chance that it occurred. This makes an AVO matter much more difficult to defend than a criminal matter.

2. What is an AVO and Court
An Apprehended Violence Order is a legal document issued by a court to prevent threats, harassment, intimidation, or violence against a person or property. These orders can be sought by the police or individuals affected by such behaviour. A court, typically the Local Court in NSW, oversees AVO proceedings.

3. Is an AVO Serious? What kind of application is it Criminal/Civil?
An AVO is a civil matter, not a criminal charge. However, breaching the terms of an AVO is a criminal offense. The purpose is to protect individuals rather than punish the alleged offender, differentiating it from criminal proceedings.

4. Negotiating an AVO, Getting it Dropped or Dismissed
Negotiating an AVO involves communication between the parties involved. In some cases, agreements can be reached, leading to the AVO being dropped or dismissed by the court. Seeking legal advice is essential for navigating this process effectively.

5. Defending an AVO
If served with an AVO, it’s crucial to mount a strong defence. This may involve challenging the evidence presented, questioning the necessity of the order, or demonstrating that the alleged behaviour did not occur. Consultation with a lawyer specializing in AVO matters is advisable.

6. Why Police Officers Bring AVO
Police officers may bring an AVO on behalf of an individual who feels threatened or unsafe. It serves as a proactive measure to prevent potential violence or harm.

7. Private AVOs
Private individuals can also apply for AVOs without police involvement. If you believe you are a victim of violence or harassment, you can initiate the process independently by filing an application with the court.

8. AVO Conditions
AVOs come with specific conditions that restrict the behaviour of the defendant. These can include prohibiting contact, maintaining a certain distance, or refraining from specific actions. Breaching these conditions has legal consequences.

9. Who Must Apply for the AVO/Standing
In NSW, both police officers and private individuals can apply for an AVO. The person seeking the order must demonstrate a genuine fear for their safety or the safety of others.

10. AVOs and Children
AVOs can include provisions to protect children from harm. If the court believes a child is at risk, it may impose conditions regarding contact or proximity to ensure the child’s safety.

11. Breaching AVOs and Consequences
Breaching the conditions of an AVO is a criminal offense, punishable by fines or imprisonment. It is crucial for both parties to understand and adhere to the terms outlined in the order.

12. What is an Interim AVO
An interim AVO is a temporary order issued before the final hearing. It provides immediate protection while the court assesses the evidence and decides whether a final AVO is warranted.

13. AVOs Impact on Working with Children Check
Having an AVO against you may impact your ability to work with children. Employers often consider AVOs as part of background checks, and certain professions may have specific regulations regarding individuals with AVOs.

14. Length of Final AVOs and Negotiating the Length
The duration of a final AVO varies and is determined by the court. It is possible to negotiate the length during the proceedings, depending on the circumstances and the agreement between the parties involved.

15. Property Recovery Orders when Subject to AVO
In some cases, an AVO may include a Property Recovery Order, allowing the police to recover property on behalf of the protected person.

16. Is the Protected Person Named in the AVO Bound by the Same Terms as the Defendant?
No, the protected person named in the AVO is not bound by the same terms as the defendant. The order is meant to protect them, and they are not restricted by the conditions imposed on the defendant.

17. Usual Court Timetables for AVO Matters
AVO matters follow specific court timetables, typically involving an interim hearing followed by a final hearing. Timelines can vary, and legal advice can help navigate the process efficiently.

18. Basic Understanding of a Final Hearing for an AVO
A final hearing is the culmination of the AVO process, where evidence is presented, and the court decides whether to make the AVO final. Legal representation is highly recommended during this stage to ensure a fair and thorough presentation of your case.

Navigating the complexities of AVOs in NSW requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal process, potential consequences, and available defences. Seeking legal advice early in the process is essential for effectively managing AVO matters.