Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) are legal instruments that protect individuals from violence, harassment, or intimidation in Victoria. In cases of domestic violence, stalking, or any form of abuse, AVOs play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of the victims.
Like many legal processes, AVOs have an expiration date, and understanding the implications of their expiration is essential for the continued protection and well-being of those involved.
Understanding Apprehended Violence Orders
AVOs are legal orders designed to restrict the respondent’s conduct towards the protected person – the individual for whom the order is granted. These orders serve as a means of safeguarding victims by setting clear boundaries on the respondent’s behaviour.
The court evaluates the evidence before rendering a decision. An AVO may then be imposed, and would include such conditions as no contact, specified proximity, or surrendering of firearms.
In cases where immediate danger is evident, the police can apply for an AVO on behalf of the affected individual or the affected person may apply for an AVO directly. It is important to note that AVOs are initially made for a limited duration, typically six months to one year.
Expiration of AVOs in Victoria
When an Apprehended Violence Order is granted, the court specifies the period for which it will be in effect. Once that period elapses, the AVO expires. Then it is the responsibility of the protected person to be aware of the expiration date and take appropriate action to ensure their continued safety.
In some cases, AVOs may have provisions for automatic renewal. This means the order will continue to be in effect after its initial expiration date unless the court orders otherwise. The inclusion of automatic renewal provisions is at the court’s discretion and is often based on the threat’s severity and the case’s specific circumstances. The protected person must ascertain whether their AVO contains an automatic renewal provision.
Applying for an Extension
When an AVO does not have automatic renewal, the protected person can apply for an extension before the order’s expiration date. This involves returning to the court and providing valid reasons for extending the AVO. The court will carefully assess the situation, considering any new evidence, the respondent’s behaviour since the order’s issuance, and the continued risk to the protected person. Based on this assessment, the court will decide whether to grant the extension. The court’s primary concern is the safety and protection of the individual seeking the extension.
Seeking a New AVO
If the protected person fears their safety after the AVO’s expiration and does not wish to pursue an extension, they can apply for a new AVO. A new AVO will be a separate legal order from the previous one and may have different conditions, depending on the circumstances. When applying for a new AVO, the individual must provide updated evidence and relevant information supporting their claim for protection.
Importance of Seeking Continued Protection
The expiration of an AVO can leave the protected person vulnerable to potential harm and intimidation. Therefore, individuals need to take the expiration date seriously and consider their safety beyond that point.
Domestic violence situations and abusive behaviours can persist or escalate even after the order expires. Seeking continued protection through an extension or a new AVO is essential for maintaining safety.
Furthermore, having an active AVO may hold significant importance in future legal proceedings if the protected person faces further threats or violence from the respondent. An active AVO can strengthen the case and provide legal protection in case of any violation, helping law enforcement and the justice system promptly take appropriate action.
Breaches and Consequences
Even after an AVO expires or is no longer in effect, the respondent is still legally bound to abide by its conditions until the expiration date. Any breach of the AVO before its expiration is treated as a serious offence under the law. A breach indicates a continued threat and highlights the need for additional protection measures.
If a breach occurs, the protected person must report it to the police immediately. The police will investigate the violation, and if the respondent is found guilty, they could face severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The legal system considers breaches of AVOs as grave offences due to the potential harm and danger they pose to the protected person.
Dealing With an Expired Intervention Order in Victoria?
If you or someone you know needs help navigating an intervention order and need legal assistance, please contact Stary Norton Halphen today. Our experienced team of lawyers specialises in handling cases involving domestic violence, harassment, and intimidation. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and ensuring your safety.
Contact us now to schedule a consultation and discuss your situation in confidence. We can explore the best options to ensure your continued protection and well-being. Don’t face this challenging situation alone – let Stary Norton Halphen guide you through the legal process and provide the support you need.