Being granted an apprehended violence order (AVO) (also known as an Intervention Order or ‘IVO’) against someone who has threatened the safety of you, your loved ones or your propert,y can go a long way to giving you peace of mind. These orders work by preventing that person from doing things like being near your home, threatening or harassing you or causing damage to your property.
So, what happens when an AVO expires, and what are your options for ensuring that you and your family continue to have the crucial protection that these orders provide? To help you understand the ins and outs of AVO expiry, we’ve put together this plain language guide to allow you to understand what type of AVO you currently have, how long it might last, and what steps you can take when it’s due to expire.
Interim vs. Final Orders
Firstly, it’s important to understand the differences between interim and final AVOs, particularly how long they are in effect for:.
- An interim order: a magistrate might implement an interim order if they believe you need immediate protection that can’t wait for evidence to be presented at a hearing. They have all the effects of a final order, and come into force straight away.
- A final order: these can be implemented after the magistrate has heard evidence at the hearing if they believe the individual has committed relevant offences and will likely do so again in the future.
One of the key differences between interim and final orders is how long they last. An interim order will typically be in place until the hearing, when the magistrate will decide whether or not to implement a final order. By contrast, final intervention orders issued by a magistrate typically have a set time period before they expire. In Victoria, this time period is usually 12 months. However, if there’s no date specified on the AVO, the protection will have no set end point, and will continue on an ongoing basis. In these instances, the order will only end if it is successfully appealed or set aside by the magistrate.
Can I extend an AVO that’s due to expire?
It’s important to understand that, if an intervention order expires, the named individual will usually be free to resume contact with you and anyone else who was protected under that order (unless there are other legal reasons why they can’t do this). Therefore, if you’re still worried about your safety, and those around you, by the time an AVO is coming to its end, you’ll need to apply for it to be extended.
You can do this as many times as you need to, meaning the effects of the intervention order can technically run indefinitely, but be aware this isn’t an automatic process.
You’ll need to know when the order is due to expire, as the police or court won’t get in touch to inform you it’s coming to an end. If you’re going to apply for an extension, we highly recommend applying a month before the existing one is due to expire. This is because you’ll need to provide evidence, just like you did in the first instance, that you still feel threatened by this individual, in order to provide reason for the magistrate to issue another order. By doing this a month ahead of the expiry, you give yourself time for the process to run its course, leaving no break in the protection offered by the expiring and commencing orders.
Having experienced and sensitive legal assistance on your side will help you navigate the ins and outs of an expiring AVO, and ensure you can rapidly get a new one implemented if protection is still required. To find out how Testart Family Law can help, get in touch with our friendly team today.