What are Domestic Violence Offences?30 November 2021
Domestic relationships in NSW include both married and de facto relationships. In addition, there are number of other relationships that can be considered as domestic relationships such as relationships with relatives, ex partners and people that you share a household with. There are various other instances where a domestic relationship may arise.
What are Domestic Violence Offences?
A domestic violence offence is an offence committed by person against someone who they have or had a domestic relationship with. Offences which fall within this definition are:
- Personal violence offences, or
- Offences that arise from substantially the same circumstances as those from which a personal violence offence has arisen, or
- An offence (other than a personal violence offence) the commission of which is intended to coerce or control the person against whom it is committed or to cause that person to be intimidated or fearful (or both).
Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)
If you commit a domestic violence offence the court will likely make an apprehended domestic violence order (AVO) against you. AVOs can also be sought by a person who reasonably fears that they may vulnerable to a domestic violence offence. AVOs are designed to protect victims of domestic violence by restricting the conduct of the people that pose a risk to their safety. The court may impose various conditions in an AVO such as conditions which:
- Prohibit or restrict contact between you and the protected person,
- Prevent you from accessing any premises occupied by the protected person, ors
- Prohibit you from locating or attempting to locate a protected person.
In simple terms, AVOs provide the court with a range of options through which to protect people from domestic violence.
Breaching Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)
Breaching an AVO is a very serious offence, which occurs where a person knowingly contravenes a prohibition or restriction specified in an AVO made against them.
A person will also be considered to have breached an AVO if the court is satisfied that they attempted to commit a breach.
Penalties associated with breaching an apprehended violence order (AVO)
The maximum penalty for breaching an AVO is imprisonment for 2 years or a fine or both.
It should also be noted that the court may be required to impose a term of imprisonment on a person who has breached an AVO, if the act constituting the breach was an act of violence against a person.
Why BSM Lawyers
If you have been charged with a domestic violence offence or have breached an AVO it is important that you seek expert legal advice.
Brander Smith McKnight’s criminal defence lawyers have extensive experience with domestic violence offences and AVOs.
Our team of criminal defence lawyers can provide you with expert assistance in relation to domestic violence matters.
If I breached an AVO I did not know about, am I still guilty of an offence?
You will not be guilty of an offence if you were not served with a copy of the AVO or present in court when the order was made.
Will I get a criminal record if I have committed a domestic violence offence?
If you plead or are found to be guilty of committing a domestic violence offence, the court will record the offence on your criminal record as a domestic violence offence.
Can an AVO restrict my access to property that I own?
Yes, a court may impose a prohibition or restriction on your access to a premises that is occupied by a person protected by an AVO regardless of whether you have a legal or equitable interest in the property or place.
What matters may the court take into account when considering whether to make an AVO?
There are various considerations a court must make when deciding whether or not to make an AVO. These considerations are found in s17 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW), they are as follows:
- The safety of the protected person,
- The safety of any child directly or indirectly affected by the defendant’s alleged conduct,
- The effects and consequences of an order restricting access to the defendant’s residence on the safety and protection of the protected person and any children living or ordinarily living at the residence,
- Any hardship that may be caused by the making the order, particularly to the protected person and any children,
- The accommodation needs of all relevant parties, in particular the protected person and any children, and
- Any matter that is considered relevant.