How to Protect Your Loved Ones
An Apprehended Violence Order (commonly known as an “AVO”), is an order made by the Court for your protection against a person who makes you fear for your safety. The AVO is not as such a criminal charge. Nor does the person against whom the AVO is taken obtain a criminal record or a conviction. An AVO is simply obtained to protect you from future violence, harassment and intimidation.
All AVOs have standard conditions. These conditions prohibit a person from:
- stalking, or
- otherwise intimidating the protected person by way of emails or telephone messages.
Although not a criminal charge, there could be serious legal consequences for breaching the conditions imposed by the AVO. Such consequences include possible criminal charges against the person breaching the AVO.
How do I apply for an AVO?
An AVO can be taken out by the Police. For more information on this, please refer to our Fact File on Police Issued ADVOs. In the event of refusal by the Police, the person seeking the AVO can apply through the Local Court.
If the application for the AVO made on your behalf by the Police, you do not need to get your own solicitor. In this situation, you will be represented by the Prosecutor at Court events.
However if you are obtaining your own AVO, it is highly recommended that you retain services of an experienced solicitor to represent you in Court.
How do AVOs affect Parenting Orders?
Parenting Orders are orders made by the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court in relation to parenting arrangements concerning your children. Parenting proceedings by themselves can be very traumatic. Any allegations of Domestic Violence make them even more difficult.
The provisions of the Family Law Act have made it abundantly clear that, contrary to common belief, Domestic Violence is not only limited to physical violence/abuse perpetrated against a person. It can extend to non-physical conduct such as:
- controlling and manipulative behaviour,
- making of derogatory comments,
- damaging personal property,
- exerting financial control, and
- preventing the person maintaining contact with his or her family members or friends etc.
Furthermore the Family Law Courts give significant consideration to the allegations of Domestic Violence in considering appropriate parenting orders in relation to children. Although every Family Court case is unique in its own set of facts, worryingly there are instances where false allegations of Domestic Violence are made by a partner to obtain an AVO purely to use as an advantage in the parenting proceedings.
Such conduct is regrettable and it is extremely important to ensure that you obtain proper legal advice in relation to your situation, especially when parties have envisioned applying to the relevant Court for parenting orders. On many occasions, you find individuals in the Family Law process, who have conceded to the imposition of an AVO thinking that it will not affect them as it is not a criminal charge.
Apart from being adduced as indirect evidence of the alleged Domestic Violence occurring, an AVO also prevents parties from attending mandatory Family Dispute Resolution. All parties are otherwise required to attend before applying for parenting Orders in Court. This is an important step, especially in cases where there is financial inequality between the parties and one party has limited financial means to engage in litigation.
How can we help?
At Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors, we have a wide range of expertise in Family Law matters including allegations of Domestic Violence and AVOs. It is imperative that immediate action be undertaken, especially if it relates to Domestic Violence and physical injuries. Call us now on 02 8917 8700 to find out how we can help in your Family Court matter.