Domestic Violence and AVOs

In parenting matters, the Court must consider the benefit to the children of having a meaningful relationship with both parents, however, the Court is also required to protect children from harm as the safety and wellbeing of the child will take priority.

In parenting applications before the Court, a Notice of Risk must be filed. This form requires parties to identify whether a child has been abused or is at risk of being abused, or there is a risk of family violence. This form also requires parties to indicate whether they have reported these allegations to an external authority. An amended notice of risk can be filed at any time during proceedings.

Section 67ZBA(3)(b) of the Family Law Act provides that the Court must notify a prescribed child welfare authority if a notice of risk alleges that a child has been abused or is at risk of being abused.

In cases of domestic violence an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) may be issued, if so it will include prohibiting the following behaviour:

  • Assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or interfering with the Protected Person; Intimidating the Protected Person;
  • Stalking the Protected Person; and
  • Anyone in a domestic relationship with the Protected Person is also protected by these conditions. This may include your children.

If you and the other party have children together, you will need to think about how an AVO will work with any orders or agreements about the children. If there is an AVO and a parenting order, the parenting order will override the AVO if there are any differences.

When someone makes an application for parenting orders, the Court must be informed of any AVOs or any allegations of family violence. The Local Court has the power to vary a previous parenting order when it makes either a final or interim AVO. If the Local Court does not vary the parenting order and you think the parenting orders should be changed, you may apply to the Court  to vary the parenting order.

When an AVO is made, the defendant does not get a criminal conviction or a criminal record. However, if the defendant breaches a condition of the Order, they may be charged with a criminal offence. The details of the AVO are kept on a police database and the police will seize any firearms in the defendant’s possession or control. If the defendant has a firearms licence, the licence is automatically revoked for a period of 10 years.

For any AVO’s in relation to parenting matters please contact me for further advice.

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