30 April 2024

Can I get an AVO for harassment?

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What is harassment? Can I get an AVO for harassment? Do I need a lawyer?
Australia Criminal Law
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An AVO for harassment is a legally enforceable court order which restricts the behaviour of a person.

The standard conditions of an Apprehended Violence Order prohibit the defendant from assaulting, harassing, threatening, intimidating, stalking, damaging property or harming pets of the person in need of protection (PINOP).

What is Harassment?

Harassment is any unwanted behaviour that offends, humiliates or intimidates a person. It can be an ongoing pattern of behaviour or a single incident.

Examples of harassment include:

  • Ongoing unwanted and unreciprocated contact
  • sending sexually explicit or suggestive emails or texts
  • bullying, such as insulting or taunting someone
  • sexual harassment which includes asking someone inappropriate questions about their personal life, including their intimate life
  • Emotional abuse, also called psychological abuse, is a form of manipulative behaviour that can affect a person's mental health and emotional well-being.

Can I Get an AVO for Harassment?

You can get an AVO for harassment if the behaviour causes you fear, there are reasonable grounds for those fears and the conduct is sufficient to warrant the making of an order pursuant to Section 16 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007.

Police can apply for an AVO or you can apply for a private apprehended violence order with an experienced AVO lawyer. The process to apply for an AVO can be complex and it can be difficult to determine whether you have sufficient grounds to be successful. If you are unsuccessful in a private AVO application, you will be forced to pay the costs of the defendant.

If police apply for an AVO, they will serve a copy of the order on the defendant. The case will also receive a court date where the defendant may argue that the AVO is a false AVO claim.

Generally, the court will set a timetable for each party to file evidence to support their case. Once all the evidence is filed, the court will set a Hearing date. This is where all witnesses must attend court and be cross-examined by the opposing lawyer.

At the conclusion of the cross-examination of all witnesses, lawyers make submissions detailing by the AVO should be made or why the application should be dismissed. The magistrate will then make a decision.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File AVO for Harassment?

If the police make an application for the AVO, then the person in need of protection (PINOP) will usually only need legal advice if they wish to withdraw the AVO.

If you are intending on applying for a private AVO, or if police have refused to apply for an AVO on your behalf, you should speak with an accredited specialist AVO lawyer who can advise you on your prospects of success as well as any repercussions. They can also advise you on what evidence the court will look upon favourably and how best to prepare the case.

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