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An AVO is an apprehended violence order. It is issued upon a complaint of domestic or family violence.

It prohibits the person who is subject of the AVO from contacting the person who complained of domestic or family violence.

When a domestic partner has a volatile temper and has had numerous complaints lodged against him with the police for having committed acts of violence against the mother of his children, and an AVO has been issued by the family court, the person against whom the AVO has been issued has to obey the AVO and have no contact with his domestic partner.

The person against whom the AVO has been issued must obey its terms. Thus if the father were ordered to have no contact with his ex-partner, he must abide by the order.

In the case of Gilmore & Ray [2013] FamCA 153 (15 March 2013), the father against whom an AVO has been issued continued to contact his ex-partner. He thought that if his messages were not threatening or menacing then he was not in breach of the AVO. He thought that if he were not drunk, and hence, he was in proper control of his behaviour and temper, he could drop by his ex-partner’s house and see his children.

The father’s assertions were overridden by factual evidence. Each time he contacted his ex-partner or came to see her and their children, a report was made to the police because violence and assault against the mother was committed by the father.

The breach of the AVO is significant to the issue of whether or not the father should be given further contact with his children considering his history of violence against the mother and the exposure of his children to the violence. This becomes more significant in light of the allegations of sexual abuse leveled by the mother against the father.

The allegations turned out to be unsubstantiated. The Court found that despite the violent relationship between the parents, the father was eager to have a relationship with his children but that he did not know how to relate to his children.

The Court ruled that the children can benefit from having a relationship with him but they must be gradually reintroduced to their father. His time with them which at first must be under supervision at a contact centre can be gradually increased. The Court also ordered that the paternal grandparents be present at all times of contact between the father and his children.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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