An AVO for stalking is a court order put in place to protect a person from being stalked. In all Australian states and territories, stalking or intimidation is against the law.
You can speak to the police or file for an Apprehended Violence Order or AVO for stalking to protect yourself.
What is Stalking?
Stalking is a pattern of repeated actions or behaviours that a person does to maintain contact with or gain power and control over another person, intending to cause fear of physical or mental harm.
According to section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007, these things happen more than once and make someone feel anxious or harassed.
It can also involve threats or sexual advances.
What Actions Might Constitute Stalking in an AVO for Stalking?
When deciding on an AVO for stalking, the court will look at the defendant’s behaviour patterns to consider whether these actions constitute stalking.
This pattern of suspicious actions and behaviours includes:
- Repeatedly threatening or harassing you over the phone
- Often sending you text messages, emails, or letters
- Leaving comments and messages on your Social Media Accounts
- Leaving notes on your car or front door
- Sending you strange and unwanted gifts
- Following or spying on you
- Vandalising or damaging your property
- Threatening or harassing you in person or someone close to you
- Constantly showing up wherever you go
Also read: What Happens at an AVO Court Hearing?
Who Can Be Your Stalker?
Most of the time, people are stalked by someone they know, like:
- their ex-partners
- their friends and even family members
- their clients or someone they work with
- an acquaintance
But some people can be targeted by someone they don’t know.
Stalkers tend to focus on the primary victim.
Still, other people around you, like family members, friends, or workmates, may also be threatened or bothered as part of the stalking behaviour.
What Do You Need to Do Before Filing an AVO for Stalking?
Here’s the list of things you must do if you believe someone is stalking you and you want to file for an AVO:
- Note the specific details like the date, time, and the witness of all the stalking incidents.
- If someone is stalking you online or on the phone, you should keep copies of any emails, texts, or other messages they send you. Emails and text messages could be used as proof, providing complete details of what is happening to you.
- If you think the stalker sent you packages or gifts, don’t touch them because they could be used to find forensic evidence.
- Report all incidents to the police.
Just keep in mind that one incident may not be enough to qualify as stalking, so it’s important to write down and report each one to the police so they can identify your stalker’s pattern of actions and behaviours.
Remember, keeping track of every incident will help the police build a strong case when you file for an AVO for stalking.
Do I Need a Lawyer to defend an AVO for Stalking?
You can go to court on your own. But if you want to go to court without an AVO lawyer, you must know how court submissions and hearings work.
If this isn’t handled right, it is likely that an AVO will be placed on you. An AVO is a serious offence and may cause issues for you in the future.
For that reason, it would be highly advisable to work with a lawyer so they can defend the AVO for stalking.
What Are “Representations” in an AVO for Stalking?
Representations are detailed legal arguments that a lawyer writes and sends to the Police. They can be used to change the terms of an AVO for Stalking or to get rid of one.
In all Australian states and territories, stalking or intimidation is against the law.
When deciding if someone is stalking, the court will look at the defendant’s behaviour patterns to consider whether these actions constitute stalking.
When defending an AVO for stalking, you will want to build up evidence to demonstrate that you were not stalking the PINOP and that te PINOP could not reasonably have grounds to fear you.
Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.