Most people are aware that the courts can issue Apprehended Violence Orders to try and give people some protection when they are threatened or feel intimidated. The type of Orders that can be made were updated in December 2016 and the forms now provide a plain English explanation of what the Orders mean.
The procedure for obtaining an AVO is that you need to first of all ask the police to issue an Order, and if the police refuse to do so then you can ask the Local Court to do so.
There have been some recent changes to the legislation relating to AVOs. In short, it used to be the case that Magistrates had a prescribed set of orders that they could choose from when making AVOs. Now the Magistrate can vary these orders, or make other orders, if they are required in the circumstances.
For instance, there may be a very specific order that is required because somebody is harassing their ex partner by contacting their electricity provider and having their electricity cut off, or contacting their work and pretending to be a disgruntled customer and complaining about them. It would have been difficult to fit an order about this under the previous AVO provisions, but now the Magistrate can make a specific order about something like this if it is necessary.
AVOs include orders that are known as mandatory orders, and the behaviour that is prohibited by the mandatory orders would be illegal regardless of whether there was an AVO in place.
For AVOs made after 3 December 2016, the mandatory orders are known as 'orders about behaviour' and they state that the defendant must not:
- assault or threaten he protected person or any other person having a domestic relationship with the protected person
- stalk, harass or intimidate the protected person or any other person having a domestic relationship with the protected person intentionally
- recklessly destroy or damage any property that belongs to or is in the possession of the protected person or any other person having a domestic relationship with the protected person
People you have a domestic relationship with include:
- people in your family even if they don't live with you (including children)
- wives and husbands and partners, (and ex husbands and wives and ex partners)
- the new partner of an ex partner
- in the case of an Aboriginal person or a Torres Strait Islander, someone who is part of extended family or kin according to the Indigenous kinship system of the person's culture.
From 3 December 2016 the Magistrate can make various additional orders, but the orders that are on the Police form already provide that the Defendant must not:
- reside at certain locations or with certain people
- enter certain premises
- go within a certain distance of certain premises
- approach the protected person
- communicate with the protected person
- approach a certain school
- destroy or deliberately damage the protected person's property
There is also an order that the Defendant must surrender fire arms, though once an AVO is made the defendant cannot legally hold a firearms license.
The Magistrate does not have to make these orders, they are merely the sort of orders that the Magistrate could make if needed.
What should I do?
If you need assistance in regard to Apprehended Violence Orders, either you need to obtain an order to protect yourself, or someone has sought an order against you, please do not hesitate to come and speak to a lawyer here at Coode & Corry. The first appointment is free and the solicitor can explain what you need to do, and how much that will cost.