Defending an AVO in Court

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?

An application for an AVO can be made by a police officer on behalf of the protected person or by the protected person themselves (unless they’re under 16). There are two different types of orders that may be issued depending on whether you have a close or “domestic” relationship with the person or not.
AVOs can be provisional, interim or final, and can come with a range of restrictions depending on the circumstances. For example, it may restrict you from attending certain places such as a home address or a school. While an AVO does not represent a criminal offence, you can be charged with a criminal offence if you break the terms of the order.

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

Once you have sought legal advice and determined that you want to defend the AVO being made, orders can be made for evidence to be filed.
The case will then be listed for a further mention before being listed for a hearing. If the application is for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO), you may also refer the case to a Community Justice Centre for mediation.
If a final AVO is made against you, the applicant will be protected by the AVO. You then have 28 days to appeal the decision to the District Court. If you didn’t attend the hearing, you may be able to apply for an annulment. To know more about AVO – can always read our blogs on The Legal and Personal Ramifications of 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.

DGB Lawyers specialise in family and criminal law services, including defending an AVO. Contact us today to learn more.