A husband and wife have an argument. The wife calls the police but she calms down before they arrive. She tells the police that she does not want any action taken. Despite this, police take out an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) on behalf of the wife with restrictive conditions that prevent the husband from contacting the wife. In effect, the husband had to move out of the premises immediately.
Had the police used common sense, the matter might have been resolved differently. There were no allegations of violence or threats of violence, just an argument between a married couple. The issuing of the AVO was unnecessary.
The AVO was withdrawn at court. The wife gave evidence that she held no fears of her husband and did not want the AVO in the first place.
The police have the power to apply for an AVO if they believe it is necessary. There seems to be public policy that if there is any risk of domestic violence, the police will apply for an order. Common sense might suggest that it would be appropriate to evaluate the situation after the parties have had an opportunity to think about what has occurred and then consider whether it was still appropriate to seek an order. Perhaps the law should be changed to have a temporary AVO that expires within 48 hours unless either party makes application for the order to continue.
While an AVO can be a valuable took in regulating the behaviour of one person toward another, it should not be issued without a genuine need. Common sense should be applied.
Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in cases involving domestic violence and AVOs.
Contact us if you require assistance.