What is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)?
Unfortunately, sometimes a relationship becomes so strained that it requires an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) to manage the behaviour of one person towards another and restrict the contact between them both. This becomes even more difficult when they are in a domestic relationship. In this case the order is known as an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).
Unjustified and unprovoked violence against another person is a crime. If an individual cannot control their behaviour toward the other person, the police and the Courts may need to step in and implement measures to increase the safety of the victim of this crime.
In terms of the workplace, there are many examples when an AVO or ADVO may impact the occupants of a workplace. This will sometimes occur in a childcare facility where the parents of a child are subject of an ADVO which may also include custody orders. In this situation the staff of the facility need to have knowledge of the order as well as an understanding of the procedures that need to be followed should there be a breach of the order. Safety of the child is important as well as the safety of the other children and staff within the facility.
In some cases, an AVO may be in place to protect an employee at a workplace. In this case it is important that the management of the workplace are aware of the nature of the AVO so they can support their employee. Under the WHS regulations, the employer has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its employees. The employee also has a responsibility to do what they can to promote their own safety and the safety of their colleagues. It is more important to have specific plans in place if the AVO involves co-workers at the same workplace.
What if a breach of the AVO occurs?
As stated, the workplace affected by the AVO needs to have a plan to respond to a breach of an AVO. The response plan will reflect the specific orders contained in the AVO and will be aimed at supporting the compliance with the AVO. The response will involve a focus on the safety of the victim who is subject of the AVO as well as other occupants in the workplace. This can include taking actions to lockdown and secure the premises, remove the victim to a safe location and call the police on triple zero. The safety of everyone in the workplace is paramount and for this reason it is important that preparation, training and early implementation of the plan occurs.
Any breach of an AVO is serious and it could also have a stressful and psychological effect on not just the individual subject of the AVO but other employees as well. A debrief may be required following an AVO breach incident, which may include counselling services being provided.
How do we prepare for possible AVO breaches?
Every workplace is different and the options for handling an AVO breach are site specific. Staff awareness is a vital first step and developing a plan for your workplace is critical.
If you require any assistance planning, preparing, or training for an AVO breach, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Workplace Emergency Management on 1300 831 694 at any time. Our consultants have extensive experience across the emergency services industry.
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