An Apprehended Personal Violence Order (commonly known as an “AVO”) is a court order designed to protect a person or persons from another person in circumstances where the parties are not in a domestic relationship.  The Order operates by prohibiting the person subject to the Order from engaging in certain conduct towards the protected person or persons. The prohibited conduct commonly includes assaulting, molesting, harassing, intimidating, stalking, approaching and contacting the protected person/s.

The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (“the Act”) gives a court in New South Wales the power to make an AVO.

The object of the Act, in relation to personal violence, is to ensure the safety and protection of all persons who experience personal violence outside a domestic relationship.

Under section 19 of the Act, a court may make an AVO if it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a person has reasonable grounds to fear and in fact fears:

  1.  the commission by the other person of a personal violence offence against the person, or
  2. the engagement of the other person in conduct in which the other person:
    1. intimidates the person, or
    2. stalks the person,

being conduct that, in the opinion of the court, is sufficient to warrant the making of the order.

In certain cases, it is not necessary for the court to be satisfied that the person for whose protection the order would be made in fact fears that such an offence will be committed, or that such conduct will be engaged in, for example, if the person is a child.

The definition of ‘personal violence offence’ is contained in the Act at section 4 and includes serious indictable offences such as murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, discharging a firearm with intent, kidnapping, rape and other sexual assaults and less serious offences such as common assault and criminal damage. The definitions of ‘intimidation’ and ‘stalking’ are contained in sections 7 and 8 of the Act respectively.

Should a person contravene an AVO, they commit a criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of a $5,500.00 fine and imprisonment for 2 years.

For legal advice and representation in Apprehended Violence Order matters, you should contact the experienced Albury solicitors and Albury lawyers at Burt & Hanke Legal servicing Albury, Wodonga and surrounding areas.

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