The Crimes Act of NSW provides protection to victims of domestic and personal violence. Under this law, local courts are empowered to issue Apprehended Violence Orders or AVO. The victims in whose benefit an AVO is issued need not be victims of violence but it is sufficient that there are acts that cause them to fear for their personal safety.
An AVO may be made with the consent of both the perpetrator and the victim. It need not be that the parties will have to undergo a full hearing in court to be able to determine whether or not an AVO should be issued. There are actually instances when both parties recognize the need for an AVO so that they can continue to live together but with some form of protection in place.
There are two types of AVOs that can be made by the court: Domestic Violence Order (DVO) and Personal Violence Order. Both types of AVOs can be issued as interim orders or final orders.
A DVO is for the protection of people who are in a domestic relationship with the perpetrator. All other types of violence or abuse are addressed with the issuance of a Personal Violence Order.
A domestic relationship includes marriage, de facto relationship, intimate relationship whether sexual or not, carer and cared for person, and living in the same household or residential facility like flatmates. Thus, it may be a spouse, de facto partner or a flatmate that a DVO is being sought against.
When issuing a DVO the court must specifically state that the defendant is not to assault, molest, harass, threaten, harm or otherwise interfere with the protected person and that he is not to reside in the residence, work or other premises where the protected person is usually found. The aforementioned basic conditions in a DVO are also known as Statutory Domestic Violence Orders.
There are instances when the court will impose additional restrictions against the defendant which are called Discretionary Orders. Discretionary Orders are issued by the Court in addition to the Statutory Domestic Violence Orders and after the Magistrate takes into account the full circumstances of the case. Examples of Discretionary Orders are: