23 OCTOBER 2013
MAKING FALSE ALLEGATIONS FOR APVOs BECOMES A CRIME
Making false allegations in order to obtain a personal violence order against a neighbour, co-worker, or stranger will become a criminal offence, Attorney General Greg Smith SC announced today.
“This move is designed to protect law-abiding citizens from false and vexatious APVO applications,” Mr Smith said.
“Anyone who thinks it is acceptable to make accusations they know to be untrue should think again, because under this law it will be an offence punishable with a fine of up to $1100, or up to 12 months in prison.”
The changes follow recommendations made by an interim review of frivolous and vexatious apprehended personal violence orders, which was tabled in parliament last month.
Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs) differ from Domestic Violence orders and can only be used when the victim is not in a “domestic relationship” with the alleged perpetrator.
The proposed changes to the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act will make it an offence to give a false or misleading statement in an application for an apprehended personal violence order.
“This will make an application for an APVO consistent with other similar processes which require applicants to declare the truth of the information they provide,” Mr Smith said.
“It will only apply to people who knowingly make a false statement when applying for an APVO, which will provide some protection to vulnerable applicants such as people with mental health problems or cognitive impairments.”
The amendments to be introduced into parliament this week will also:
· require magistrates to refer APVO matters to mediation unless there are good reasons not to; and
· encourage a registrar to exercise their discretion to refuse to accept an application for an APVO where appropriate.
Changes will also be made by regulation to require applicants to declare a commercial relationship, debt or previous history of litigation between the parties
Under changes previously announced, this legislation will also give senior police the power to issue provisional ADVOs in cases of domestic violence and expand police powers to give an alleged perpetrator of domestic violence directions or detain them for the purpose of serving the order.