What is an AVO?

AVOs or Apprehended Violence Orders are a court order issued to protect an individual who has a a reasonable fear of violence or harrassment from a specified person. There are two catagories of AVOs:
  1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)
  2. Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)

What is the difference between ADVO and APVO?

An ADVO or Apprehended Domestic Violence Order is usually where a domestic relationship can be established.In contrast a APVO or Apprehended Personal Violence Order is when there is no such relationship between the involved parties. APVOs are usually used where the circumstances are in the nature of a neighbour dispute or "like relationship" - not a "domestic relationship".

What is the impact of an AVO?

Whilst an AVO once made does not mean you have a criminal conviction as it is a civil matter and not a criminal matter you should be aware that a breach of an AVO once such an order is made is a criminal offence. Unfortunately, when people agreed to an AVO upon attending court without legal representation they are often unaware of the significance of this particular fact and agree to an AVO being made on what is called a "without admissions" basis.

Having consented to an order on a "without admissions" basis does not lessen the force of an AVO once it is made. For this reason, if you believe that the original allegations underlying the initial application for the AVO were false then you should be very wary of agreeing to an AVO on a "without admissions" basis. The reason for this is caution is simple - if the other person made a false allegation against you in order to bring about the original AVO complaint, what is there to stop them bringing further false allegations resulting in you being arrested and placed at risk of being convicted of a criminal offence.

If you have real concerns as to the truthfulness of the facts surrounding the alleged complaint contained in an application for an AVO you should speak to a criminal lawyer about your options before agreeing to the order being made on a final basis. AVOs can also have implications for family law matters and as such your family law situation (if you have one) should be taken into account also when determining whether to agree to an AVO on a "without admissions" basis.

A criminal conviction for a breach of an AVO can significantly impact your employability as well as your freedom to travel overseas aside from the negative aspects of the conviction itself. A criminal conviction means that you have a "criminal record".

Many potential employers request you answer the question as to whether you have such a record as part of their employee selection process and criminal record checks can be authorised by applicants. For this reason, the presence of a criminal record can stifle your ability to earn or increase your income and hence your financial success in life. If you work in an occupation which requires no criminal record than your conviction may result in loss of present employment.

Given the potential flow-on effects from the imposition of an AVO order and the risk of a subsequent conviction we strongly urge you to seek legal advice about your AVO matter before you go to court where possible or, if necessary, seek an adjournment from the court when you appear on your first court date advising the court that you wish to obtain legal advice before agreeing to any Application for an AVO. The court will ordinarily grant such a request on the first court date when you seek some further time to speak with a criminal lawyer. Be mindful that the court may seek to continue any interim or provisional AVO that may be in force against you and as such seeing a lawyer before your court date is always the best option.

*Please note that the information contained herein is not legal advice and should not be taken to be legal advice. It is information only. You should always consult a criminal lawyer for specific legal advice about your matter so that your full and proper instructions are known by the criminal lawyer before they give you legal advice.

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