Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders are also called AVO or ADVO.
An article appeared in the SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) about an “AVO system in spotlight after killings”.
This article was sadly and tragically about the death of a 39 year old woman with 3 children, Mrs Cullen, murdered by her husband with a knife within 3 months of seeking and being granted an Apprehended Violence Order.
The statistic is that 1 in 3 persons are killed by their partner in domestic violence related deaths.
The SMH article discusses the way the offender experienced great anger.
However, what is not covered is the actual court proceedings that would discuss the state of mind of the accused.
Was he drug affected, mentally unwell? Was he simply in a rage?
To commit an act of murder, it is said that a person would need to actually have a had a neurological reaction in their brains.
They would need a certain kind of adrenalin and the criminal law alone examines motive in cases where evidence is tested.
The punishment in NSW for the charge of Murder attracts a maximum penalty of life or 25 years.
Section 18 of the Crimes Act in NSW covers the offence as Murder and Manslaughter and Section 19A of the Crimes Act states a person who commits the act of murder is liable to a term of life in imprisonment and that this term shall be the term of the accused natural life.
Mr Cullen, the accused in this matter, was penalised to a term of 30 years after being found guilty of murder.
The AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) was in place at the time Mrs Cullen was murdered.
Getting an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order)
Breaching an AVO involves a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.
Naturally each case would vary as to the severity of the allegation.
Many people accidentally breach their AVO by simply not understanding the terms of the AVO, that can often contradict Bail terms.
How do the Police consider the evidence in an AVO?
Interestingly, the victim in this matter received a series of threats via test messages leading to the event.
Should this matter have proceeded in the court system as a AVO, the options for persons like Mrs Cullen would have involved examination of the text messages and witness versions of events.
For example; Mrs Cullen was a employee working in a salon and her boss would (and did) see Mrs Cullen’s phone alerts with multiple messages.
The accused had also placed signs outside her workplace that were degrading and threatening.
Mrs Cullen had left her husband the year before her murder.
Police could consider charging the offender with stalking and intimidating the victim, or using a device (mobile) to make threats, these offences can lead to separate charges in the law.