The NSW Parliament has recently passed the Justice Legislation Amendment Bill (No 2) 2019 which amends AVO provisions in the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) to alter the default duration of final orders.
Currently, under s 79 of the Act, the court can implement an AVO for a period of time ‘as long as is necessary, in the opinion of the court, to ensure the safety and protection of the protected person’. If the court does not specify a period of time that a final AVO is to operate for, the order will remain in force for 12 months.
Under the new provision, while the court retains the ability to order an AVO for as long as it considers necessary, the default period is extended to 2 years. This means that if a court does not specify a time period for a final AVO, it will apply for 2 years from the date on which it is made. However, if the person against who the order is made is under 18 at the time the order is made, then the order will remain for 12 months.
The new provision also provides more guidance on the matters that the court can consider when deciding on a period of time. When forming the opinion as to the time period for the AVO, the court must consider:
The new provision also provides that when making a decision about the duration of an AVO, the court may consider that domestic violence extends beyond physical violence and may involve the exploitation of power imbalances and patterns of abuse over many years.
These changes do not affect the ability of the court to vary or revoke the AVO.