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    A new proposed scheme in NSW may allow people to find out if someone has an AVO

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      Does an AVO Appear on a Police Check?

      How to Find Out if Someone Has an AVO – 2024 UPDATE

      New proposed legislation by the State government could provide an answer to the question of how to find out if someone has an AVO.

      The Right to Ask scheme would allow police to disclose information about a domestic violence offender to potential new victims.

      However, concerns about privacy and malicious applications have been raised as potential issues with the proposal.

      The scheme is currently being discussed with community groups before a bill is proposed.

      How to Find Out if Someone Has an AVO?

      You can find out if someone has an AVO by making an enquiry through the proposed ‘Right to Ask’ scheme.

      This proposed scheme would allow a person who may be at risk of domestic violence to apply through an online portal or phone line to access information about their partner.

      This information would relate to any domestic violence offending by a person’s partner.

      The information would be available in multiple languages.

      Concerns About Right to Ask Scheme

      However, there have been concerns raised about the Right to Ask scheme and how it will protect a person’s entitlement to privacy.

      It is also ripe for malicious applications whereby people who are not in a relationship with a person can make a request under the scheme.

      While there are proposed criminal penalties for malicious applications, it is unclear what the penalty will be for a malicious application. Without adequate penalties, there would be little disincentive for anyone to find out whether someone has an AVO.

      It is also unclear how police would be able to prove an application was malicious without informing the person’s partner of the request. Ostensibly, informing a person’s partner of a request could lead to the person making the request being placed in further danger.

      Based on UK Scheme

      The proposed scheme is based on the United Kingdom’s domestic violence disclosure scheme known as Clare’s Law.

      This scheme was named after 36-year-old Clare Wood was murdered by a partner with a history of domestic violence. She had met the man on Facebook.

      Under the UK scheme, a person can apply to police for domestic violence offence information in relation to their partner. In some circumstances, police can disclose information to the public without being asked.

      Then scheme came into effect in the UK in 2014.

      Support for Scheme

      Premier Dominic Perrottet suggested the scheme’s enactment would help people to make informed decisions about their relationships.

      “There are simply too many heartbreaking stories of women and men being seriously hurt or murdered in circumstances where the perpetrators had a history of prior domestic and violent criminal offences that they didn’t know about,” he said in a prepared statement.

      However, a similar scheme trialled in NSW in 2016. It was available in a few pilot sites and had low uptake. It was ultimately scrapped as it wasn’t seen as an efficient use of funds.

      Police Minister Paul Toole said the dating landscape had “shifted considerably” since that trial, with more people accessing dating apps and dating outside their friendship circles.

      The new scheme “will allow them to make more informed decisions about continuing a relationship, moving in with someone or making them a part of their family, particularly where children are involved”, he said.

      There has also been a push to block persons subject to AVOs and with domestic violence records from using dating apps.

      The government will meet domestic violence organisations on Monday to discuss the implementation of the Right to Ask scheme, which will be subject to a review after 12 months.

      AVO Conditions

      In order for an AVO to be made, Section 16 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act sets out the factors that must be proved on the balance of probabilities:

      1. The alleged victim has reasonable grounds to fear a personal violence offence from you; and

      2. The alleged victim, fears a personal violence offence from you unless:

      a) The alleged victim is under 16 years of age

      b) The alleged victim has a mental impairment

      c) the alleged victim has, in the past, been subject to a personal violence offence from you and the court believes there is a reasonable likelihood of it occurring again.

      3. It is appropriate to make an AVO in the terms sought.

      In determining whether to make an AVO, Section 17(2) of the Act allows the Court to consider:

      “(a) in the case of an order that would prohibit or restrict access to the defendant’s residence–the effects and consequences on the safety and protection of the protected person and any children living or ordinarily living at the residence if an order prohibiting or restricting access to the residence is not made, and

      (b) any hardship that may be caused by making or not making the order, particularly to the protected person and any children, and

      (c) the accommodation needs of all relevant parties, in particular the protected person and any children, and

      (d) any other relevant matter.”

      However, if you have been found guilty of associated criminal charges, such as common assault, then the AVO will be made automatically.

      An experienced lawyer for an AVO will be able to advise you on your rights as it pertains to finding out if someone has an AVO. You can contact Parramatta criminal lawyers on (02) 7804 2823 or you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

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