A DVO or AVO is a civil Order between people to prevent violence in domestic circumstances. If you are a respondent to a DVO you are required to be of good behavior and not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved and any named protected persons and comply with the conditions of the Order or risk serious criminal penalties if breached. While it is possible to remove or vary a DVO this is very much dependent on a number of factors.
Firstly, are you the respondent or the aggrieved?
How to get a temporary protection order or permanent DVO removed
If you are the respondent and you are subject to a temporary DVO, your only option to prevent a permanent Order being made is to contest the application at a trial. This can be an expensive and risky exercise where the consequences of failure are that there are findings of fact against you that you committed an act or acts of domestic violence against the aggrieved.
If you are the respondent subject to a permanent DVO, then you must apply to the Magistrates Court to vary the Order. This is completely at the discretion of the Magistrate who ultimately decides whether the DVO is necessary and desirable. It is also important to note that a Magistrate does not have the authority to remove or revoke a DVO once it is permanent, what a Magistrate can do is vary the term/duration of the Order so that it ends immediately or within a certain period of time.
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Can a DVO be withdrawn?
If you are the aggrieved and you have made the application privately, as in without the assistance of Police, then you can withdraw your application at any stage in the proceedings. If a permanent Order has been made that you want removed, then you have to apply to the Magistrates Court to vary the Order, so that it ends immediately. Again, this is completely up to the Magistrate as to whether or not they will accept your application. If a temporary Order has been made and no permanent order exists, then you can apply to withdraw your application and remove the temporary DVO.
To apply to have a DVO removed or withdraw your application, you have to contact the Magistrates Court registry where you filed your application for a DVO and file an application to withdraw your application and remove any existing Order.
If you are the aggrieved and the application has been made by the Police on your behalf, then it is at the discretion of the Police Prosecutor whether or not they will withdraw their application. Rarely do Police withdraw an application however, more often than not, a Police Prosecutor is willing to negotiate the terms of a DVO.
If you want to change the terms of the Order, then the process is such that you have to file an application to vary the DVO in the Magistrates Court. In your application you have to clearly state what you want changed or removed from the DVO and the reasons why.
Whichever pathway is relevant to you, it is important to note that the Magistrates Court has authority to approve or deny any application, so there is rarely any certainty in terms of the outcome. Unless both parties reach an agreement that the Magistrate is satisfied with, then usually the Court prefers to err on the side of caution.
The risks associated with a DVO if breached are criminal consequences which if charged and found guilty result is significant penalties depending on the seriousness of the breach. A criminal record will also result which will likely impact a person’s ability to gain or maintain employment and affect the offender’s day to day life generally. For these reasons, it is critical that you seek independent legal advice if you are served with an application for a DVO.