Apprehended Violence Orders (NSW)

In New South Wales, What is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)?

In New South Wales, Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) are court orders that prevent the Respondent from doing certain harmful behaviours in order to protect you from further violence, intimidation, or harassment. All AVOs decree that the person you fear, called the defendant, must not assault, harass, threaten, stalk, or intimidate you. Your property must be safeguarded as well. Other conditions can be added to an AVO to suit your specific situation.

Defendants must follow the AVO, otherwise they could risk a criminal offence.

There are two main types of AVOs:


Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)

  • Issued where the involved parties are related, where they’re living in the same residence (and/or with children), or when they’ve previously been together in an intimate relationship. For Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, such orders may also be made for members of one’s kin or extended family.
  • ADVOs are also available to people who are or have been in a dependent care arrangement with another person.
  • An ADVO may also be issued for people who are residing in the same residential facility.


Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)

  • An APVO is made where the people involved are not related and do not have a domestic relationship (i.e. they are neighbours or work together).

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is behaviour towards another person that includes:
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Economical abuse
  • Threats or coercion
  • Attempts to control or dominate another person, causing them to fear for their (or someone else’s) safety or wellbeing

What is Family Violence?

Family Violence is defined as:
  • When someone is violent or is threatening to be violent towards a family member
  • Any other behaviour that coerces or controls another family member, or causes them to be fearful
  • Includes physical, financial, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse
Family members are:
  • People who share intimate or personal relationships (i.e. married, de facto or domestic partners)
  • Parents and children (including stepchildren)
  • Birth relatives, relatives through marriage or adoption
  • People who you treat like a family member (i.e. caretaker, guardian, or person related to you within the familial structure of your culture)
  • Anyone who used to be considered a family member in the past (including ex-partners)

Provisional or Temporary AVOs

If the police have fears for your safety after an incident, they can apply for a Provisional AVO for you. This is a temporary AVO. The police will let you know about the AVO and tell you when to come to court.

AVO Process

If you are concerned about being faced with immediate harm, you can apply for an urgent or interim order at any local court or at a magistrates’ court, depending on the legal system you are in. These orders can be made without notice to the Respondent and usually include provisions that protect your children as well.

Domestic Violence Consultation

Free 15 Minute Domestic Violence Consultation

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We can start working on your case after you decide to retain us. Once retained, we can then start preparing for your matter without delay.


*How do I apply for an Apprehended Violence Order?

You can apply by contacting the police to create one on your behalf. Alternatively, you may apply for one by yourself at your Local Court.

Do I need a lawyer?

If the police have applied for an AVO on your behalf, you do not need a lawyer because the police prosecutor will present the case in court.

If you have applied for an AVO on your own through the Local Court, it is a good idea to get a lawyer to represent you. If you are eligible for legal aid, Legal Aid NSW may pay for a lawyer to represent you in your ADVO application.

What happens when I go to court?

If the defendant has been served with the Application for an Interim Apprehended Violence Order, but does not come to court without a good reason, the Court can make an AVO in his or her absence. Sometimes the police are not able to serve the defendant with the application by the time you first go to court. If this happens, your case will be postponed to give the police more time to serve the defendant with the application.

You or the police can ask the Court to make a temporary AVO to protect you until the next court date. The magistrate may need to hear some evidence from you to make an Interim AVO.

When can the Court make an Apprehended Violence Order?

The Court can make an AVO if:

  • the defendant consents (agrees) to an AVO being made; or
  • after hearing evidence, the Court is satisfied that there are fears for your safety and those fears are reasonable; or
  • the defendant has been served with the AVO but does not show up at court.

What happens if the defendant does not consent to the Apprehended Violence Order?

If you do not consent to an order, your case will be postponed in order for the court’s magistrate to listen to the evidence and make an official decision. A temporary order may be made in your favour pending a court hearing. This is called an “interim AVO.”


If your matter is adjourned for hearing, you may be told by the magistrate to give written statements to the Court by a certain date. Your matter will usually be listed for another court date to see if both you and the defendant have done the statements. If the police applied for the AVO for you, they will be preparing the statements.

When both you and the defendant have given the Court your written statements the matter should be listed for a hearing. It is important that you attend court for the hearing. If you do not attend, the AVO application may be dismissed. If the defendant does not attend court, the AVO can be put in place without them present.

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