Where domestic violence occurs within a family, the absolute priority is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the other partner and their children.
One option is to have an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) taken out against the abusing partner. In most cases, if you have been issued an ADVO, you will still be allowed to spend time with your children, however it’s not always straightforward and depends on a number of factors. We unpack some of those here.
What is an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)?
AVOs come in two types; One that is for non-domestic relationship between the parties (an Apprehended Personal Violence Order); and, an ADVO, where a domestic relationship does exist.
All AVOs order that the perpetrator does not do any of the following to a person they have a domestic relationship with:
- assault or threaten them;
- stalk, harass or intimidate them; and,
- deliberately or recklessly destroy or damage anything that belongs to the protected persons.
Depending on the individual circumstances and perceived risk of abuse, additional restrictions may be included, which could encompass:
- banning contact with the protected person (except through a lawyer);
- staying a minimum distance from the person’s place of work, study or dwelling;
- banning possession of weapons or firearms;
- prohibiting that the abuser reside in the family home.
The Police and Family Law Courts are responsible for the investigation and intervention in cases of domestic violence. If you ever feel in danger, contact 000 or 1800 RESPECT immediately.
An ADVO may be issues under a number of circumstances of abuse and violence. Examples of family violence have recently been extended to include:
- An assault;
- Sexual assault;
- Repeated derogatory taunts;
- Intentionally damaging or destroying property;
- Unreasonably denying financial autonomy or withholding financial support;
- Preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture, and;
- Unlawful deprivation of liberty.
ADVO when children are involved
As with all Family Law matters, things often become more complex when children are involved. Their safety is the priority, and often ADVOs will restrict interaction the offending parent or partner may be allowed to have.
It is also important that, where safe and practical, children be able to continue contact with their parent, and the Police and Family Court will take this into account.
In order for you to reach a fair and workable outcome within an ADVO, it is crucial to obtain professional legal advice as soon as possible if a notice is received that an AVO may be taken out against you.
The Family Law Courts take allegations of domestic violence very seriously and will do all things necessary to obtain information from independent third parties to verify or test the allegations. This can include obtaining information from New South Wales Police and the Department of Communities and Justice (formerly DOCs/FACs).
A Family lawyer will be able to help advise you on your rights and the best ways to improve your chances at visitation rights, which may include anger management programmes, sobriety support services and counselling. At Nolan, our priority is the safety of all partners and children and working to find the best outcome for the family. We offer free initial consultations to discuss your circumstances and potential ways forward.
Seeing my children with an ADVO
If you have been served with an ADVO, a lawyer will be to advise you of how your children will be impacted.
In most situations, depending on the terms of the ADVO, time with your children can continue but there may need to be certain conditions put in place.
An example of such conditions may include:
- That the parent does not consume alcohol or illicit substances during and prior to their time with the children;
- That the parent’s time with the children occur in a public place and/or during daytime only;
- That the parent’s time with the children be supervised by a family member and/or a professional supervision service.
Professional supervision for ADVOs
Supervised time is necessary in limited circumstances and is usually a short-term solution. If professional supervisors are engaged, they will provide a written report as to what occurred during the supervised visit.
This helps to act as a third-party witness to the behaviour of the supervised parent and that the children were comfortable in their presence. It is also useful to have in case the non-supervised parent gives an inaccurate account of the supervised parent in their report.
If supervised time is something that needs to occur, it is important that all steps are taken to arrange a supervisor who is either a family member or someone who is known to the children. This will assist in the transition for the children, to ensure they are comfortable. If this is not an option, we can recommend some professional supervision services to you.
Get professional advice for the fairest outcome
ADVOs are complex and can cause significant emotional distress to all parties involved, both for the victim and the offender. The focus is on ensuring the safety of the family and finding ways to improve the familial situation and eradicate the risk of violence.
Getting professional advice from a Family lawyer is the best first step to understanding both your rights and obligations.
At Nolan lawyers we want to help you retain the right to spend time with your kids, as well as support you on a path to stopping violence in your family.
Get in touch today for a free consultation with our Family law professionals.