Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOS)

Apprehended Violence Order (“AVO”) is an order to protect victims of domestic violence when they are fearful of future violence or threats to their safety, sometimes known as restraining orders or protection orders.

You can apply for an AVO if you are experiencing or have been:

  • Threatened with physical violence
  • Intimidated, harassed or molested (either in person, by telephone calls, text messages, emails, or in other ways, including through social media)
  • Stalked by someone where you live, work or places you go

An AVO is not a criminal charge, but sets out restrictions on the other person’s behaviour, for your protection.

Types of AVOS

  1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) and
  2. Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)

Domestic Violence

An ADVO relates to the protection of a person/s where a domestic relationship exists between the parties- for example:

  • Where you are married, de-facto, or in an intimate relationship
  • Where you live in the same household
  • Relative i.e., blood relation, including half brother or sister
  • Where one person cares for the other (nurse caring for elderly or disabled patient)

Personal Violence

An APVO relates to the protection of a person/s where there is no domestic relation between the parties- for example:

  • A friend or acquaintance
  • work colleague
  • A neighbour

Who can apply for an AVO?

A person over the age of 16 years or a Police Officer can apply for an AVO on behalf of the person in need for protection.

If a person is alleged to have been a victim of physical or sexual assault, threatened with physical harm, been stalked, harassed or intimidated and believes this behaviour will continue

A guardian of the person needing protection.

If the protected person is a child, only a police officer can make an application for an AVO.

For application forms and more details on how to get an AVO, call and speak to one of our specialists AVO lawyers in Sydney and across NSW on our dedicated 24-hour contact number 0449 593 845 to arrange a free first consultation.

Going to court for an AVO

Once an application for an AVO has been made, your case will be listed for mention. This is known as the first ‘mention’ court date. The court will want to know how the defendant wants to respond to the application.

If you consent to the AVO, without admissions (agree to the order be put in place, but not agree or admit that domestic violence took place), a final order will be made for a period of up to two years.

If you do not consent to the AVO, then the court will give directions to the parties to prepare and file written statements, and list your case for another mention date to confirm compliance with those directions. If on the second mention date all parties have complied, then a hearing date will be set, being third court date.  

On the hearing day, the court will make a determination whether there are grounds for an AVO. If the court finds that there are grounds for an AVO, then a final order will be made for a period of up to two years. If the court disagrees on the grounds of AVO application pursued because it is vexatious or frivolous, then the court will dismiss the AVO application.

If an applicant does not turn up to court, the court can dismiss the application. If the defendant does not turn up to court, a final order can be made in absence of the defendant. The court registry will notify the defendant of the outcome.  

The ‘winning’ party may have reasonable prospects to recover their legal costs from the ‘losing’ party. In cases where a party has failed to comply with the courts directions, legal costs may also be recovered in certain circumstances.

For more details on how to get costs in an AVO, call and speak to one of our expert AVO lawyers.

For personal violence applications, parties can defer or adjourn the court proceedings and attend mediation. If an agreement is reached, the defendant can undertake to comply with what was agreed upon during mediation. An undertaking is not a court order, therefore breaching it will not necessarily result in criminal charges. Sometimes an agreement is also reached to withdraw the application.

How can an AVO affect you

An AVO is not a criminal conviction and will not appear on your criminal record, however it may have a significant impact on your personal or professional life, in cases, such as:

  • Family Law: it may affect you in children custody matters.
  • Firearms Licence: police can suspend your firearms licence
  • Security Licence: if the licence is a class 1F or P1F (a licence which allows you to carry firearm), you may not be able to work under that licence because firearms registry will have suspended your licence
  • Working with Children’s Check: in some cases, AVO may considered. You will need to speak to the Office of the Children’s Guardian
  • Rental Property: It may affect your tenancy.

Consequence for breaching an AVO

To be found guilty of breaching an AVO, the prosecution must prove that you breached a condition of the AVO and that you committed the breach knowingly.

If the breach involved violence, it is considered a serious offence and there is a strong chance you will be sent to prison if you are convicted.

The penalties for breaching an AVO is 2 years imprisonment and or $4,400 fine.

It is important that you seek proper legal advice from an experienced AVO lawyers to carefully prepare your case.

For those who are unable to attend our city office, we offer conferences by telephone, Skype, Zoom or FaceTime, if that is more preferable or convenient to you.

Call our AVO Lawyers Sydney office on (02) 9152 8619 or our dedicated 24-hour contact number 0449 593 845 to arrange a free first consultation.

Alternatively, you can send us an email at [email protected]