If you are fearful for your physical or psychological safety you may apply for urgent, interim, protection orders, even on a weekend. If you feel you are in imminent danger please phone 000.
In NSW, the police can apply for an urgent (called “provisional”) Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (“ADVO”). Police can also apply for an interim and final ADVO whether or not provisional orders were in place. A victim can also apply for an ADVO themselves or with the assistance of a solicitor.
But what if the victim needs help when the Court is closed – on a weekend or during holidays? It is important to know that if you are fearful for your safety outside of business hours, that police officers are able to apply for urgent family violence orders on behalf of a victim.
A Provisional ADVO can be granted by a senior police officer or an authorized officer (including a Registrar). Unlike interim or final orders, which require a Magistrate of the Court to consider your matter, a provisional order can be dealt with outside of Court. This means that in circumstances of urgency and immediate danger, you can obtain very quick protection.
The domestic violence matter will then be dealt with by your Local Court. If provisional orders are in place, police prosecutors will appear on your behalf and the Magistrate will consider interim orders in your matter. If the Defendant consents to Final Orders, then the matter may be finalized at Court on that day. If the Defendant does not consent, then the matter will be given a hearing date.
In certain circumstances, police are mandated by the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act to take out a provisional ADVO in favour of a victim. In circumstances where a domestic violence offence has been committed or is likely to be committed in the view of the officer, an order must be applied for.
It is also possible to apply for an ADVO or an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (“APVO”) yourself or through a solicitor. You may wish to do so in circumstances where you have a complex matter, require further ongoing assistance or case management, or if you want more advice around your family or personal violence matters before they are dealt with on your behalf at arm’s length (as can at times be the experience with police-led proceedings).
It is important to know that if you are experiencing critical concerns for your safety, you can and should seek urgent police assistance.
If you want to discuss your matter further and obtain advice on your rights, you can contact our family law team.