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Domestic violence is a deeply concerning issue that affects individuals across all genders, ages, and backgrounds. While the majority of reported cases involve female victims, it is essential to recognize that men can also be victims of domestic violence. In New South Wales, the prevalence of domestic violence against men has gained attention, prompting discussions about support mechanisms, legal measures, and the role of Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) and lawyers in addressing this issue.
Statistics have shown that domestic violence against men in NSW is a pressing concern that warrants attention and action. According to data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), there were over 7,000 reported incidents of domestic violence against men in the state in the most recent reporting period. However, it’s important to note that many cases of domestic violence go unreported due to stigma, fear, and other barriers, which suggests that the actual number of male victims could be much higher.
Domestic violence against men can take various forms, including physical, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse. Men who experience domestic violence often face unique challenges in seeking help, as societal stereotypes and gender norms can sometimes undermine their experiences and discourage them from coming forward.
Raising awareness about domestic violence against men is a crucial step in addressing the issue. Many men hesitate to report instances of domestic violence due to the stigma attached to being a male victim. Society often expects men to be strong and impervious to harm, which can create an environment where they feel reluctant to come forward and seek help. Breaking down these stereotypes and fostering an environment of acceptance and support is essential in encouraging male victims to share their experiences.
Educational campaigns, community outreach, and open discussions about domestic violence are essential components of challenging the stigma and misconceptions surrounding this issue. By highlighting the prevalence of domestic violence against men, the diverse forms it can take, and the resources available for support, society can work together to ensure that all victims are empowered to seek help.
An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a legal intervention designed to protect individuals from threats, physical violence, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, family violence harassment, or stalking. In the context of domestic violence, an AVO serves as a court order that prohibits the perpetrator from approaching or contacting the victim. AVOs are crucial tools in ensuring the safety and well-being of victims, regardless of their gender.
In NSW, AVOs can be applied for by the police on behalf of victims or by the victims themselves. There are two main types of AVOs: Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) and Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs). ADVOs are specific to domestic relationships, including intimate partners, family members, and even housemates. APVOs, on the other hand, apply to cases where there is no domestic relationship but where there is a need for protection due to violence or harassment. An interim or final avo order against a person, is not a criminal record.
A police-initiated Application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) doesn’t demand specific actions on your part, except for reporting the incident(s) to the police. The officers handling your case will assess whether a temporary AVO is necessary, and the Police Prosecutor will take charge of representing your case in court. Your involvement might be limited to providing testimony in court if the accused challenges the matter.
On the other hand, a personal application follows a slightly different process and comes with its set of risks. Firstly, you’ll need to locate your Local Court Registry, as each registry has its unique procedures for submitting an AVO application, albeit some details are uniform across all registries. Essential information includes the person’s name you’re seeking protection from, their address, and birthdate if known, details about your relationship, and a description of the incident(s) that led you to seek protection.
Subsequently, you’ll be required to fill out the relevant forms and submit them to the Registry, usually accompanied by a filing fee. Lastly, you’ll need to make arrangements for the defendant to be served with the application. This is generally handled by the police or a representative of the Court. When you’re submitting your application, it’s recommended to inquire with court staff about the specifics of the service process.
An application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) can be initiated by any of the following individuals:
To obtain an AVO, it is necessary to demonstrate that you have a genuine fear of the individual in question and that there are reasonable grounds to support this fear.
In case of any incidents, it is advised to inform the police. If you find yourself in a state of fear or if you are a victim of family violence, it is important to promptly communicate with the NSW Police. In certain situations involving domestic violence, the police have the authority to apply for and issue a Provisional AVO, which serves as an urgent order on your behalf. This order functions as a type of restraining measure against the individual involved.
Initiating a personal application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) will involve a filing fee at the Local Court of NSW. Legal practitioners specializing in AVO cases might require individuals to pay legal fees ranging from approximately $4,000.00 to $6,000.00.
Violating an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) constitutes a criminal offense and signifies a failure to adhere to the orders specified in the AVO against you. The consequences for breaching an AVO can be substantial, particularly if the breach involves acts of violence.
According to Section 14 of the law, the penalties for breaking the terms of an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) are outlined. A breach encompasses not complying with, attempting to evade, or contravening the conditions set forth in an ADVO or Apprehended Domestic Violence Protection Order (ADPO).
The most severe punishment that a court can impose for an AVO breach is a maximum of 2 years imprisonment or a fine equivalent to 50 penalty units, or both. A breach of an AVO is a criminal offence and can result in a criminal record.
Navigating the legal process of obtaining an AVO can be complex and emotionally challenging. This is where AVO lawyers come into play. AVO lawyers specialise in domestic violence cases and can provide valuable assistance to both victims and individuals against whom AVOs are sought.
For victims or defendants, AVO lawyers can guide them through the process of applying for an AVO, defending an AVO application, offering legal advice, and representing them in court. They can help victims gather evidence, prepare documentation, and ensure that their case is presented effectively. Additionally, AVO lawyers can advocate for the best interests of the victim or defendant, especially in cases where the victim might feel intimidated or overwhelmed.
For individuals facing allegations and potential AVOs, AVO lawyers play a crucial role in ensuring their rights are protected. They can help them understand the legal process, gather evidence to refute false claims, and present their side of the story in court. This is essential in preventing unjust or unnecessary restrictions from being placed on individuals who may be wrongfully accused.
When seeking an AVO lawyer in Sydney, it’s important to choose someone who not only has a deep understanding of the legal aspects but also demonstrates empathy and sensitivity toward the unique challenges that domestic violence cases can present.
Our AVO lawyers in Sydney offer initial free 15 minute consultations, during which we can assess the merits of your case and provide guidance on the appropriate course of action.