An AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) does not appear on your criminal record in NSW. However, a police check will show that an AVO has been taken out against you or that you have breached an AVO.
An apprehended violence order (AVO) is not a criminal charge and will not appear on your police record. However, if you breach the order and a court finds you guilty, you will be charged with an offence, which will be permanently recorded on your criminal record. Find out more about apprehended violence orders in New South Wales, what happens if you contravene the order, and what will appear on your record. Let’s take a closer look.
What is an AVO?
A victim of domestic violence who is fearful for their safety may apply to the court for an apprehended violence order (AVO) to protect themselves. Under the Domestic and Personal Violence Act 2007, the court can impose an AVO to protect a person fearful of violence against them. Actions that may prompt applying for an AVO include; property destruction, stalking, assault, intimidation or potential efforts to instil fear. The order places conditions on the defendant, restricting their access to the protected person.
One type of AVO is apprehended domestic violence orders ADVOs, which protect a person in a domestic relationship with the offender.
How Long does an AVO Last?
The order is governed by state legislation, and each state has a different term. In New South Wales, for example, the order is called an AVO. It is called a restraining, intervention or domestic violence order in other states. As each order is managed at the state level, timeframes will vary. The order will generally remain in place until the applicant is safe from harm. It may range from 12 months to an indefinite period. An order can be adjusted and altered as conditions and situations change.
Who Can Apply For An AVO?
Any person over the age of 16 years can apply to the court for an AVO if they feel threatened or fearful of imminent violence against them. The guardian of a person can make an AVO application on their behalf, as well as a police officer. Some major police stations within NSW have specialist police officers who are experts in matters relating to domestic violence and child protection.
Consequences Of Having An AVO
If an AVO is made against a person, it restricts their activities, can severely impact their ability to retain or gain employment in specific sectors, and can negatively affect family relationships.
The order may impact the ability to obtain employment in specific work environments, such as any field that involves children, as an AVO will appear on a working with children check. Anyone who has been charged with certain offences will be restricted from child related employment.
Access To Children And Home
It could impact the ability to maintain contact with your children, depending on whether they are listed as protected persons in the order and whether there are existing parent orders. It may also restrict your access to the family home.
A person who has an AVO made against them is not permitted to hold a firearms licence in NSW for the duration of the AVO and up to ten years after it has elapsed. This may significantly impact an individual who must carry a firearm or hold a firearms licence for work purposes. Individuals will have their licence automatically suspended and will need to immediately surrender any firearms and their licence to the police.
An AVO may restrict a person’s ability to work under a security licence if their firearms licence is suspended. A pending application may also be cancelled if the Commissioner of police believes that the accused is not a fit and proper person.
An AVO may restrict the person from leaving the state or region where the order was issued, which can be detrimental for people who are required to travel for work.
Restrictions may be placed on an individual’s ability to go within a certain distance of the protected person’s workplace, home or school. To retrieve personal belongings, they may need to request a property recovery order from a senior police officer.
Family Law Matters
The Family Court of Australia will consider a person’s criminal history when determining parent orders. Having an interim AVO or final AVO may negatively impact their case.
If a person is not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, they may need to change their visa to show that they are no longer living with the defendant.
Is An Apprehended Violence Order A Criminal Offence?
AVOs do not appear on criminal records as they are protection orders and a civil matter. There is no criminal charge unless the conditions have been breached. Contravening an apprehended violence order is a criminal offence under section 14 of the Crimes Act 2007. If charged, the defendant is liable for imprisonment and a penalty, as well as having the offence recorded on their criminal record.
The AVO will be recorded on the police database, which may influence the outcome when making a bail application or the results of custody in a Family Law matter.
What Does A Police Check Show?
A police check shows a person’s criminal history, pending charges, court proceedings and current bonds. An AVO is not a criminal offence and won’t show up when conducting a police check unless a breach of the order has occurred and subsequent penalties have been imposed.
What Happens If I Breach An AVO In NSW?
If a person breaches their AVO, it is a criminal offence. They may be arrested by the police or issued with court attendance notice. If found guilty in court, they may face two years imprisonment or a fine of up to $5500.
An AVO is not a criminal offence, but breaching the conditions stated in the order can result in being charged with contravening the order, which may result in a conviction. The conviction will appear on the person’s record, and they may also incur other penalties.
If the breach involves assault, any security licence will be cancelled, or an application for a security licence rejected.
If the defendant was not present in court or served with a copy of the AVO when it was created, they may not be found guilty of contravening the order.
A person can only be charged with contravening the order if they knowingly breach the conditions. Accidental breaches may occasionally occur, for example, if both parties unknowingly attend the same public space.
Similarly, if someone has been charged with a breach when complying with the terms stated in a property recovery order, they will likely not be found guilty.
Contravening an AVO is a serious offence, and it is crucial to seek professional legal help.
What Are The Penalties For A Breach?
It is more likely for a person to receive a guilty verdict if there is a history of domestic violence or the breach involves physical violence.
If a court finds a person guilty, they will have a conviction appear on their criminal record and may receive either of the following penalties:
- Home Detention
- Suspended Sentence
- Good Behaviour Bond
- Section 10 Dismissal
Being charged with breaching an AVO is a serious offence, and individuals should obtain legal advice from lawyers specialising in criminal law.
The court can impose an apprehended violence order (AVO) under the Domestic and Personal Violence Act 2007 to protect a person fearful of violence against them. Having an AVO is not a crime and will not show up when conducting a police check.
Contravening an AVO is a criminal offence. If the defendant is convicted, they risk imprisonment and a penalty, as well as having the offence recorded on their criminal record.
Obtaining professional advice from lawyers specialising in criminal matters can help ensure the best possible result.
1. Do You Get A Criminal Record For An AVO?
AVOs do not appear on criminal records as they are protection orders and a civil matter. There is no criminal charge unless the conditions have been breached. Contravening an AVO is a criminal offence under section 14 of the Crimes Act 2007. If the defendant is convicted, they risk imprisonment and a penalty, as well as having the crime recorded on their criminal record.
2. How Can An AVO Affect Your Life?
Apprehended Violence Orders can impact a person’s ability to retain or gain employment in specific sectors such as child related work, security or roles involving interstate or overseas travel. It can also disqualify any person an AVO is made against from working in law enforcement or security roles.
As well as employment, it could restrict access to children and the family home. An AVO will restrict contact with a protected person, including maintaining a certain distance from their home, school and workplace.
3. What Happens When You Have An Avo Against You?
If an AVO is made against someone, they must comply with the conditions listed in the order. Every order is different as numerous conditions may be attached to the order depending on the circumstances. It may restrict them from contact with the protected person. If the defendant breaches any of the conditions, it becomes a criminal matter, and they will need to attend court and may face a criminal conviction and penalty.