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Turning AVOs into Weapons

Turning AVOs into Weapons

The abuse and over-use of personal apprehended violence orders is out of control, with the number at an all-time high and some serial "victims" able to take out dozens over a period of years.

No one is willing to take responsibility for the system in which home-owners can obtain AVOs against tradesmen purely to avoid paying up, convicted criminals can take them out against police officers - one drunk driver took an AVO against the officer who arrested him - and disgruntled wives admit they use them as a weapon against husbands in family law battles.

Not one person has been prosecuted for perjury for lying to court registrars who issue the interim orders before they go before a magistrate.
barrister Tony Smith said
"These AVOs were meant to protect people, they are meant to be shields but they are being used as swords,"
The number of personal AVOs is at a record high, with more than 150 being taken out each week.

One 49-year-old woman was granted at least seven interim AVOs including against all three sheriff's officers at Hornsby Local Court.

Another Warriewood pensioner was granted 21 interim AVOs since 1997 in a fierce neighbourhood feud. Of the interim orders, 18 were later dismissed or withdrawn.

Court registrars aren't required or allowed to conduct investigations before issuing interim AVOs, which are then usually served by police.
Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said
a balance was needed that could protect people from violence and people who would always find a loophole and abuse the system.
District Court judge Paul Conlon said
AVOs had become weapons in Family Court battles for custody.

The abuse of the orders was highlighted recently when Matt John Murdoch, described in court as a conman, was able to take out an interim AVO against 2GB radio star Ray Hadley. It was proved Murdoch had lied when he accused the top-rating radio host of making harassing phone calls over a number of years.

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