Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) are serious. It is a criminal offence to breach an AVO, but a breach can occur easily, leading to criminal charges and in some cases a conviction.
AVOs protect a person from the behaviour of another, including:
- stalking, intimidation and harassment;
- contact with the applicant;
- going within a certain distance from the applicant’s home, work or other places they frequently go to.
Applications are made to the Court and can be filed by the person who wants protection (the applicant), or by the police on behalf of the applicant.
They can be made against family members, or anyone the applicant has a domestic relationship with (for example, partners, sibling, grandparents or even housemates). They can also be made against others the applicant has frequent contact with, including neighbours or colleagues.
AVOs are usually made as an interim order. This means that the conditions requested are in place until the court determines whether a final order should be made. If a final order is made, it can be for up to 2 years.