An AVO is a court order that restricts the behaviour of the person you fear from:
Other conditions can be put on the AVO if necessary. Orders can also protect persons with whom persons seeking the AVO have a domestic relationship - such as the protected person's children, parents or partner.
The person against whom an AVO is sought or made is usually called the defendant.
There are a few ways to get an AVO issued:
You can also contact
LawAccess on 1300 888 529
or visit the
Legal Aid NSW website which has brochures about the scheme in many languages.
Community Legal Centres (CLCs) can also provide confidential legal advice and assistance with AVOs.
Application Notice is used to apply for an Apprehended Violence Order. It contains the circumstances for the complaint (the reason why you need an AVO), the time, date and location of court, and a list of the conditions that you are seeking.
The application is sent to the police station closest to the defendant (the person you fear) for service where the defendant will receive notice about the AVO application and the court date.
The first court date is called a mention. On this day any one of the following might happen:
An interim order may be granted to give you protection until the hearing.
At a hearing, the magistrate hears your evidence and the defendant's evidence. The magistrate needs to decide if you hold reasonable fear of further violence. The order may be granted or the application may be dismissed. If the application is dismissed, an appeal can be made to the district court.
If the defendant is at court when an AVO is made, the AVO starts immediately.
If the defendant is not at court when an AVO is made, the AVO will not start until they have been given a copy of the AVO by the police. The AVO will last for the period of time set out in the order.
The person the AVO is made against does not have to be charged for you to get an AVO. The person does not get a criminal record or go to gaol unless they do not comply with the conditions of the order.
While the AVO is not a criminal conviction, the person who has been violent towards you may be still be charged with a criminal offence relating to the violence against you.
It is a crime to disobey an AVO. If the defendant disobeys any of the orders in the AVO (called a breach of an AVO), the defendant may be arrested and charged. The maximum penalty for disobeying an AVO is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500. Any breach must be proved in a court.
If you are a protected person and the defendant disobeys any of the orders in the AVO, call the police immediately.
AVOs can be changed or cancelled by applying to the court although this depends on the type of AVO and whether the police applied for the AVO.
Applications to vary or revoke orders relating to children must be applied for by a police officer.