An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) made by a court is intended to restrict a person’s behaviour, to protect another from physical violence, stalking, harassment or intimidation. Often they result from domestic relationships gone wrong but may also involve an unrelated person, such as a neighbour.
An AVO can be taken out by Police, on your behalf, following a complaint to them or you can take one out yourself against another person by attending the local court or seeing a solicitor. If you take the action yourself you will then be responsible to prove the matter yourself, that is prove your case, at your cost.
On the other side of this type of matter, if you are served with an AVO Application you must attend court at which stage you will have a number of options. You can agree to the AVO being put into place. This maybe without making any admission as to guilt but restrictions will be put on what you can do from that point and you need to understand the ramifications. Just about the only other option is to deny the allegations and defend the AVO, in which case the matter will be set down for a hearing, just like a not guilty hearing at court. In that case the court may want to make interim orders until the hearing occurs, again you need to be aware of the ramifications of the interim order. Once made by a court an AVO or an Interim AVO must be obeyed. It will prevent certain behaviour and may even prevent you from approaching certain people or places. A breach of an AVO is a serious offence and carries criminal penalties up to $5,500.00 and 2 years gaol.
While the existence of an AVO itself is not a criminal offence its consequences may still affect you, your livelihood and your future. The existence of an AVO may stop you obtaining certain government and other types of employment. In family disputes the AVO may affect how and the time you spend with your children and in some circumstances may see you being excluded from the family home or contact altogether.
Unfortunately there are many incidents of false complaints where people attempt to obtain some unfair advantage in family law proceedings. It is important to obtain legal advice in every situation. Make sure you understand what the consequences are before you agree to an AVO being put in place. At Johnston Tobin Solicitors initial consultations in this and criminal matters are free. Give us a call for more information.