What is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)?
An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an Order made by a court against a person who makes you fear for your safety, to protect you from further violence, intimidation or harassment. All AVOs made by the court prohibit the person who is causing these fears from assaulting, harassing, threatening, stalking or intimidating you. The person you fear, the Defendant, must obey the Order made by the court.
To apply for an Order, you can contact your local police or your Local Court for assistance.
Many women live with the persistent problem of domestic violence as many family violence agencies are struggling to provide services for the growing need in the community. Domestic violence is not just a personal matter; it is matter for the whole community to be concerned about. The only way to go about tackling this persistent issue is to address the root causes and guarantee effective responses to women and children who experience violence.
In line with the Federal Governments recent measures, the newly elected Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Turnbull spoke for the first time for the country to focus on the increasingly alarming issue of domestic. The changes proposed by the Federal Government are anticipated to take effect as soon as possible.
This year alone, 63 women have been killed a partner or former partner or a member of their family, and 1 in 6 women have experienced violence from a current or former partner, a statistic which should definitely be raising alarm bells for the government and society collectively, but it is also important to remember that men can be victims of domestic violence, too.
What is the Domestic Violence Order (DVO) Scheme?
Domestic Violence Orders are only applicable within the state that they have been granted, however if the protected person (the victim) must apply to the court in each state if they want to move or even holiday, to have the Orders transferred. Such a dilemma means that even leaving for a holiday to another state leaves the victim susceptible to further instances of domestic violence.
Under the proposed scheme, a system to share information on DVOs between all states in Australia, and recognise the orders across state lines will be set up, in order to give those who take out the DVO greater protection. This scheme, proposed at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in April 2015 was due to be implemented by the end of 2015.
What is the Government Doing to Help?
The new measures proposed by the PM include a $100 million package to provide assistance to those who are suffering from or experiencing violence within the domestic environment.
This will increase investment in the ‘Safe at Home’ program, helping women install CCTV, get panic buttons and security systems to help them faster contact the police systems. GPS tracking of offenders will be trialled within each state, and the provision of mobile phones to women who may have had their mobile phone/computer/tablet compromised.
The measures do not stop at helping women, though. The government has allocated a sum of money to MensLine, a prominent counselling service that helps men who feel the need to reach out.
Women often reach out to the public sector in times of need, to their GP, a nurse, a police officer or the magistrate of a court. The government plans to implement further training in handling these situations, as there is almost no training in the current education provided, for such a prevalent issue.
School curriculums will also be amended to include a Respectful Relationships program, which will “educate secondary students about gender, violence and respectful relationships. It is one part of a larger strategy to assist schools in meeting state and federal initiatives to prevent violence against women.”
What is NSW Doing to Help?
In line with the Federal Government’s proposed measures, the NSW Government has prioritised domestic violence. Current measures include the provision of an Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) by the NSW Police. This means that if the police suspect domestic violence has occurred, or is likely to occur, and police can put this in place so that they can control the offender’s movements and make sure the protected person is safe and continue to remain safe.
The NSW police have options to:
- Make an application for an AVO on your behalf;
- Refer you to a support agency;
- Develop strategies to deal with repeat victims and offenders; and
- In the case of criminal offences, arrest and charge the offender, or charge for a breach of an AVO.
To read Mr Turnbull’s media release on the Women’s Safety Package to Stop the Violence, click here.
If you have any questions about an AVO, DVO or an ADVO, or you know someone who is suffering from domestic violence, give us a call on 02 8917 8700.