Applicant’s Australian Citizenship denied due to IVO & Domestic Violence convictions


An intervention order holder (IVO) and domestic violence offender has had his application for Australian citizenship denied.

An IVO is also known as an apprehended violence order (AVO) elsewhere in Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs (Department) denied a Queensland man Australian citizenship as he was found to not be of good character.

The decision was also upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).


Australian Citizenship Refusal


The man first arrived in Australia in 2001 and was later granted permanent residency through the partner visa pathway.

His 2016 application for Australian citizenship was denied as a national police check revealed his IVO and convictions, which he failed to disclose in his citizenship application.

The AAT found that his partner was hospitalised after he dislocated her finger by grabbing and twisting her hands.

The man was also found to have bitten his wife in another incident.

Although a conviction was not recorded against him in relation to his first partner, he received what is colloquially referred to as a good behaviour bond.

He was later convicted of assault causing actual bodily harm as a result of hitting his second partner several times with a hose while she was heavily pregnant.

He was also convicted in 2011 for resisting police and violating his IVO after threatening to kill his second partner.


Citizenship Denied: The Tribunal’s Reasons


Dr Peter McDermott, deputy president of the AAT, said the serious domestic violence offences against the applicant’s two partners, who were both hospitalized, were not excused as “spontaneous reactions”.

“The number of violent offences perpetrated by the applicant detracts greatly from any positive assessment of his character, having regard to the risk of danger to the public from this conduct,” he said.

“Some actions of the applicant in committing domestic violence offences were quite deliberate.”

In the Tribunal’s opinion, the man had not accepted responsibility for his actions.

He also failed to disclose his convictions in his citizenship application, which further demonstrated his bad character.

“I consider that the applicant is not of good character because whilst he has been in Australia, he has not conducted himself in a manner that accords with the values of our society.”

“This tribunal has clearly and consistently emphasised that domestic violence is contrary to the values of Australian society.”

“It was also concerning he had failed to take steps to accept responsibility for his actions by engaging in rehabilitation,” Dr McDermott added.

“I find that he does not possess any insight into his offending behaviour, as when asked why his citizenship application was refused, he stated simply that ‘something happened’,” he said.


Australian Citizenship & The Character Requirements


Australian citizenship applicants must satisfy several requirements before being granted citizenship, including the good character requirements.

There is no definition of good character in the Citizenship Act. It is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Accordingly, decision-makers must take into account what the court interprets as good character.

Under the Citizenship Policy, applicants with good character must display the following characteristics:

  • Must not be considered violent;
  • Must not be involved with drugs;
  • Must not be involved in illegal sexual activity;
  • Must not be associated with others who are involved in anti-social behaviour; and
  • Must not have eluded immigration control or assisted others to do so.

Furthermore, an IVO is a Court order which helps protect victims and their families from abuse.

An IVO can negatively impact a person’s chances of obtaining Australian citizenship.

Temporary visa holders may be deported or have permanent residency denied if they receive an IVO or are found guilty of a criminal offence.

Moreover, failure to disclose such convictions in a visa application (temporary or permanent) or a citizenship application is a serious offence.

The Australian government has the power to request police certificates from other countries an applicant has lived in.

Accordingly, if you currently have an IVO (or AVO) against you, or have a previously recorded criminal and are thinking of applying for a visa or citizenship, it is recommended you first seek expert advice.


Contact Us


For professional advice on handling citizenship applications impacted by IVO and domestic violence convictions, contact Bambrick Legal today:

Please note: Our migration and citizenship consultations are provided on a fee basis.

Related Blog – Family Violence Whilst on a Visa: What Are Your Options?

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