Woman, 30 faces court charged with two contraventions of AVO

Penrith Courthouse, NSW Australia.

March 28, 2017

By Tayla Nicholls

A 30 year old woman faced court in Penrith today after being charged with two contraventions of Apprehended Domestic Violence Order. The woman from Western Sydney had an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order placed on her in July last year.

According the presiding officer, the ADVO was breached on two occasions in November last year when the defendant attempted to enter the protected person’s house whilst allegedly intoxicated. However, the defendant’s Legal Aid solicitor stated that the defendant had allegedly been granted entry by the protected person as they intended to give her a place to live, resulting in the breach of the ADVO which prohibits the defendant to be within 100 metres of the protected person or their premises.

According to the solicitor, the defendant who had no prior criminal history had previously struggled with alcohol dependence as well trauma, making it difficult for her to find a place to live. The defendant had also allegedly been in an abusive relationship a year prior, contributing to her trauma and alcohol dependence in which the solicitor added his client was “in the middle of an existential crisis” after having suffered from domestic abuse.

According to the defendant’s father, his daughter had previously lived with him before attending rehab for 2 months after breaching the ADVO, commenting that “she has been in a good state” after living in an alcohol-free home. The defendant’s solicitor also claimed that his client had been taking medication including anti-alcohol medication prescribed by her GP as well as visiting a psychologist.

Commenting on the circumstances, the presiding officer said that he is confident that the defendant will not re-offend. On the basis that the protected person allegedly gave permission for her to enter, the magistrate also made the decision to remove orders 3 and 7 of the ADVO which would allow the defendant to visit the protected person’s home as well as contact or approach them.

The defendant was then sentenced to a two-year good behaviour bond meaning that she must comply with a discharge plan as well as live with her father for two years whilst also complying with directions from health service providers. If the good behaviour bond or current ADVO is breached, the magistrate said that it could be a criminal offence, adding that the defendant could possibly be jailed and bail may be refused. In addition, the defendant must stay away from the protected person and their premises if she has consumed alcohol or drugs to prevent substance related violence.

In Australia, there is a constant correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence with alcohol involved in 41% of reported domestic assaults in NSW in 2010 suggesting that substance abuse contributes to domestic violence. However, Barry (2016) disagrees stating that “there is no single cause of domestic violence, there are certain factors that consistently predict — or drive — higher levels of this violence.” Adding that research shows that alcohol abuse does not “consistently correlate with violence”. However, victims of domestic violence who have been traumatised often turn to substance abuse to cope with the physical and emotional pain after abuse. The cycle of domestic violence then begins when victims engage in substance related violence. Furthermore, women who engage in substance abuse may find it difficult to live their lives free of violence, making it essential for those who have been a victim of domestic violence to seek professional help in order to prevent the cycle of domestic violence.