Do you need an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) to protect you and your family? We explain what they are and the process of applying for one. We also talk about what you should do if someone has applied for an AVO against you.
What is an Apprehended Violence Order / AVO?
An Apprehended Violence Order, known as an AVO, is a legal measure designed to protect a person from the action or behaviour of someone else. There are two types of AVO:
Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs)
Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders / ADVOs are for when the applicant has a domestic relationship with the person they seek protection from. Domestic relationships include marriage, de facto relationships, intimate partners, or family members.
Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs)
APVOs are for when the applicant does not have a domestic relationship with the person they seek protection from. These people include neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances or strangers.
When can an AVO be issued?
An AVO can be issued when a person has experienced, or believes they will likely experience, one or more of the following circumstances:
- physical harm or the threat of violence toward them or a member of their family
- harm to, or threat of harm against, their dependent children
- fear or intimidation from someone else’s behaviour, which may include stalking, harassment or emotional abuse
- damage to property or vandalism.
What is the process of applying for an AVO?
If you think you need to apply for an AVO, the first step is to report your concerns to the police. They can then manage the application process, which will involve:
- Gathering supporting evidence. This evidence can include photographs, videos, text messages, witness statements, medical reports, or any other relevant documentation.
- Completing and filing the application form. This involves detailing the circumstances that have prompted the application and providing information about the person against whom the AVO is sought.
- Issuing a provisional AVO. This is an order that provides immediate protection while the court deals with the application.
- Attending the court on the date set for the hearing. You and the person the application is being made against will have an opportunity to present your cases. The court will determine whether to grant the AVO or not.
It is also possible to complete and file an application for AVO yourself without the assistance or intervention of police. But it is always best to obtain legal advice and representation before filing an application yourself.
What should I do if someone applies for an AVO against me?
If someone applies for an AVO against you, it is important to take it seriously. Don’t attempt to communicate with the person directly yourself. Instead, you should:
- Seek legal advice. A lawyer can guide you through the process and provide assistance in preparing your defence.
- Attend the court hearing. It is essential to attend the court hearing to present your defence against an AVO application. Failing to attend may result in the AVO being granted by default.
- Provide evidence and witnesses. Gather any evidence or witnesses you have to support your case and challenge the allegations made in the AVO application.
- Follow court orders. If an AVO is granted, it is crucial to comply with all the conditions specified in the order. Failing to do so may lead to other, more serious legal consequences.
Contact Seton Family Lawyers for advice on applying for or defending against an AVO
Whether you’re applying for or defending against an Apprehended Violence Order / AVO, contact Seton Family Lawyers. We can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process.