Yes, Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) victims may withdraw their statements. However, the decision to continue or halt a case ultimately rests with the police.
Authorities’ Response Withdrawing a Statement in a Domestic Violence Case
The authorities will take the following actions when a victim retracts ADVO statements:
- Assess the situation: Police or courts will examine the circumstances surrounding the victim’s request. They aim to determine whether fear, harassment, or other factors influenced the victim’s decision to withdraw the statement.
- Consider the evidence: In the absence of a victim’s statement, the authorities will examine the remaining evidence to determine if there is still a strong case. If enough evidence exists, the prosecutor may elect to pursue the case.
- Support and protection: The police may provide extra support and protection measures if a victim withdraws a statement out of fear or intimidation.
- Consultation with the victim: If the victim has concerns, the police or court may consult them. The authorities will consider the victim’s wishes, but deciding to proceed or abandon the case rests with them.
Consequence of Withdrawing a Statement in a Domestic Violence Case
The police or court decide how to proceed when a victim withdraws their statement in an ADVO case.
The outcome depends on the reason for withdrawal, the remaining evidence, and the risk to the victim. After a victim withdraws their AVO statement, the following could occur:
Without the victim’s statement, the prosecution may decide to withdraw the charges, and may not pursue the AVO. This indicates that the alleged defendant would not be subject to the order’s restrictions or conditions.
Proceeding with the case
In many instances, the police pursue the AVO case without the victim’s statement. Evidence from witnesses, physical evidence, or documentation could support the allegations.
Reassessing the victim’s safety
If a victim withdraws a statement due to fear or intimidation, authorities may still attempt to purpose the matter.
This ensures the victim’s safety by providing support, developing a safety plan, or connecting the victim with resources.
Re-evaluating the case
The authorities may collect new evidence or witness testimony as part of their investigation. This may entail interviewing additional witnesses or gathering further documentation.
Negotiating an agreement
In some instances, parties may be able to reach an agreement or resolution without a formal AVO. This may involve negotiating conditions. This includes no-contact orders or consenting to mediation or counselling.
Reasons for Victims Withdrawing Statements in Domestic Violence Cases
A victim in an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) case may recant a statement for various reasons.
In some situations, for example if the offender intimidated the victim, their family or loved ones, they may be concerned that the offender will want revenge or to harm them further if they do not withdraw their statement.
Family members may press victims not to pursue an AVO out of concern that it will affect their own lives or have negative implications.
Additionally, the victim may feel ashamed or guilty for contributing to the violence or conflict.
Lastly, it is possible that the victim does not fully comprehend the legal process or the gravity of their statement, and as a result they may retract it.
Can the victim get charged if the statement was withdrawn?
The victim will not be charged if they withdraw an AVO statement.
However, they may be charged if the victim makes a false accusation in AVO statement. They can also be accused of perverting the course of justice. This happens when they confess to providing false information or lying in original statement.
Making a fraudulent AVO claim is technically not a crime (since AVOs are orders and not charges). However, false accusations are punishable under section 314 of the NSW Crimes Act 1900.
Question: Can I withdraw my statement in a domestic violence case?
Answer: While it might be possible to withdraw a statement, doing so could have various consequences. This includes:
- potential charges if false information is provided, or
- if the action is seen as perverting the course of justice.
An Apprehended Violence Order or other legal measures may still be pursued even if a victim withdraws their statement.
Need To Withdraw Your AVO Statement?
At Justice Family Lawyers, we understand the complexity of AVOs and ADVOs, and we are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality legal advice and representation.
Our AVO lawyers and practitioners are highly experienced and knowledgeable, and we are committed to helping our clients receive the best possible outcome.