An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a court order issued for the protection of a person who believes that his life or safety is in danger.
There are two types of AVO issued by the court that would depend on the allegations of the AVO applicant and these are:
For family law purposes, it is an ADVO that is the remedy sought by victims of domestic violence. Examples of domestic violence are stalking, intimidating, assaulting, molesting or threatening a protected person. Through an AVO, a party may be prevented from approaching the protected person or going near the places where that protected person may be.
An AVO may be issued uncontested. When the party against whom an AVO is sought consents to the issuance of an AVO against him it is not tantamount to making an admission of the allegations of the applicant. It may be that the party wants to resolve the dispute with the applicant as amicably as possible.
By consenting to an AVO the parties no longer have to go through the hassle of a court hearing. Consenting to an AVO will also save up on costs since the party does not have to hire a counsel to represent him during court hearings that would be required if he objects to the issuance of the AVO.
Consenting to the AVO does not make the party liable for the allegations made against him since there are no admissions made with the consent. The party who consented to the AVO will not have a criminal record. However, there are consequences which the party must seriously ponder on before consenting to the issuance of an AVO against him.
For one thing, the breach of an AVO can make the party criminally liable. The penalty for a breach of an AVO is imprisonment of up to two years and payment of fine. So, for the entire duration of the AVO a party will have to be very careful with his actions so as not to violate the AVO.
Another effect of an AVO issued with consent is that if the party has firearms he will have to surrender those to the police. The party cannot have a firearm license for the duration of the AVO and ten years after. That a party cannot have a firearm and a license might affect those who are in the profession of providing security services.
An AVO might also affect those whose employment is related to children. Employers often conduct routine checks on job applicants and a final AVO for the protection of children could come up during their search. Thus, the employment prospects of the party may be limited by an AVO.
It is very important to seek legal advice before consenting to an AVO. The advantages of consenting to an AVO must be considered along with the disadvantages.
A time might come that the relations between the parties will improve and the AVO is no longer needed. Even so, the party must be careful since an AVO that is already in place can only be revoked by court order.
The party may be held liable for breach even if he was acting upon the invitation of the protected person. In case the circumstances have changed, either party can apply for a court order to change or cancel the AVO.
An application for an AVO may be filed with your nearest local court. If a party consents to an AVO, it may be issued during the first court date.