Can I withdraw my statement in a domestic violence case?

Can I withdraw my statement in a domestic violence case?


Making a statement to police

Once it is alleged that an act of violence or intimidation has been committed, and a complaint made to the Police, it is general Police procedure to lay a charge/s upon the alleged perpetrator.

Criminal proceedings can commence simply by a statement made by a victim simply telling the Police what happened. Police will usually have enough evidence to lay a charge upon the alleged offender. In other words, if a verbal complaint is made to the Police, that’s call that they need to charge someone for a criminal offence.

It is the duty of the Police to follow up on any complaint, however minor it may seem, made by an alleged victim of a domestic violence incident.

Will the Police withdraw the charges if I withdraw my statement?

The NSW Police have a policy in place that requires them to proceed with the charges, despite an alleged victim of domestic violence withdrawing their complaint. It is a common occurrence that victims, shortly after making a complaint, decide that they do not wish for their loved ones to be criminally prosecuted. Unfortunately, the Police see this all too often, and are obliged to proceed with criminal prosecution in these circumstances.

If a loved one has been charged with a criminal offence relating to a domestic violence incident, they should speak to an experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer about how they can defend the charge.

Will criminal charges always be laid when there has been an incident of domestic violence?

No, not always. Sometimes, despite there being evidence (reliable or not) that an incident of domestic violence has occurred, the Police will exercise their discretion and not lay criminal charges. In this circumstance, it is likely that they will seek an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order on behalf of the victim.

What if I do not want an AVO?

If it is alleged that you are a victim of domestic violence, however you do not wish for an AVO to be put in place, you have the right to refuse the AVO.  You should speak to the Police officer in charge of your case. It is the Police who will be representing you in court in the application for the AVO. They will advise you of your rights.

Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (AVO’s)

An AVO is a court order protecting an alleged victim from an alleged perpetrator in domestic violence matters. Orders can be made by a court to ensure the safety of the victim and anyone in a domestic relationship with the victim (for example children). Conditions of an AVO can include restrictions on an offender from approaching or contacting the victim, or some as simple as not assaulting or threatening the victim.

The extent of the orders made in an AVO will depend on the level of alleged violence.

For more information on AVO’s, how to apply for them and how to defend them, click here.

What if I want to withdraw my AVO?

If you have AVO proceedings on foot, and wish to withdraw the proceedings, you have a right to at any time during the proceedings.

However, it is important that you speak to an experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer  before withdrawing your AVO, as there may be costs orders made against you in initiating proceedings and then discontinuing them.


Call LY Lawyers on 1300 595 299 for a free consultation.