In New South Wales, an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) can be made against you if the court believe you have (or are likely to) commit an act of violence against another person, or to otherwise intimidate them with the intent of causing harm.
An AVO can sometimes be unfairly made against you, such as during contentious family disputes over matters like the custody of children. You have the option to either consent to the AVO being made against you or to defend it.
How Does an AVO Application Work?
Responding to an Application for an AVO
Once an AVO application has been filed and you have been served with a copy of it, you will need to go to court to respond. At the ‘mention’ (the first court date), the Magistrate will want to know how you want to respond.
Depending on the matter and wishes of the applicant, you have the following options:
- Request more time to get legal advice
- Consent to the AVO without admitting any allegations
- Defend the making of the AVO
- Give a formal promise (undertaking) to the court to stop certain behaviour
If you believe you have unfairly had an AVO sought against you and would like to defend it, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer for advice. Consider whether the applicant can demonstrate that they have reasonable fears you will be violent towards them, harass them, intimidate them or stalk them.
Court Process for Defending an AVO
Seek Legal Advice about Your AVO
It’s essential that you speak to a lawyer to get legal advice about your specific circumstances so you can better understand your options.