What is an AVO?
An AVO or Apprehended Domestic/Personal Violence Order is an order from Police and/or the courts prohibiting certain behaviour with the aim of to protecting the Person in Need of Protection (PINOP).
How long does an AVO last for?
An AVO lasts for a specific period of time or as long as the court deems necessary in order to protect the PINOP. The standard AVO order lasts for two (2) years. You can apply to have an AVO revoked, varied and/or extended before the expiry date.
What orders are included in an AVO?
- The defendant must not do any of the following to <protected people>, or anyone <she/he/they> <has/have> a domestic relationship with:
A) assault or threaten <her/him/them>,
B) stalk, harass or intimidate <her/him/them>, and
C) deliberately or recklessly destroy or damage anything that belongs to <protected people>.
Additional orders can be sought depending on the circumstances, for example:
Restrictions put in place against the Defendant:
- No longer allowed to reside at the family home
- Not allowed to contact the protected person except through the use of a lawyer,
- Not allowed within a certain distance from the protected person/s residence, work or school.
- Not allowed to be in the company of protected person for at least 12 hours after taking alcohol or drugs.
- Not allowed to possess any firearms or prohibited weapons.
- Not allowed to try and locate the Protected Person.
Do I need a lawyer for an AVO?
If you are faced with an AVO you should give careful consideration to your position and obtain legal advice. Having an AVO made against you can have serious implications for family court proceedings, working with children checks, security industry and firearms licenses.
Reasons to consent to an AVO?
- You admit to the ‘grounds’ of the AVO for instance, if you are pleading guilty to an associated charge then you would be consenting to the AVO.
- Quicker– no need to attend to multiple mention dates and a hearing date to have the matter dealt with.
- Cost – engaging any lawyers or firms can be expensive, there is also the consideration for having to take time off work to attend the court hearings.
- Emotional – you will avoid people you know having to give evidence in court.
Consequences of an AVO
When a Final, Interim or provisional AVO is taken out against you, it is likely that the Police will seized your firearms. If not, you should immediately surrender any and all firearms to Police (This is not a requirement for an application).
If you have a firearms licence it will be automatically suspended where an AVO is made. You can apply for a firearms licence 10 years after the date of the order lapsing and you must be able to show that you are a ‘fit and proper person’ to have a licence.
An AVO will prevent you from carrying a firearm as such you will not be able to work as a security guard that requires you to hold a licence (Class 1F or P1F).
Your security licence may also be cancelled and any application rejected as you must be again be considered a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold such a licence. The ultimate decision as to if you are fit and proper is made by the NSW Police Force’s Commissioner.
An AVO can also prevent you from living with your family and having access to your children. There can also be significant consequences in the family law courts proceedings. The Family Law Act requires that the court, when considering a parenting order, to take into account a number of factors including the nature of the AVO, circumstances in which is was made, any evidence admitted and findings by the court.
Working With Children Check
An AVO may not necessarily prevent you from working with children as it is not considered a
conviction. A Police initiated final AVO will show up on a working with children check, and you may be considered ineligible for the working with children employment.
The Children’s Guardian will then conduct a risk assessment as to your level of risk that you present to children. The risk assessment is legislated and considers factors such as the length of time that has passed, age of the applicant, who the person in need of protection (PINOP) is i.e. child or adult.
What happens if I breach an AVO?
There are serious consequences for any breach of an AVO as it is also a breach of a court order. The maximum penalty is 50 penalty units and/or imprisonment for two (2) years.
How Can Catron Simmons Lawyers Assist me?
Catron Simmons Lawyers are ex prosecutors and police, so we understand Police processes and AVO legislation intimately. We are able to provide you with frank accurate advice and be with you every step of the way. Should you choose to defend the AVO we are putting all our knowledge and experience on your side.