Other Legal MattersWhat is an AVO?

October 12, 20220
Apprehended Domestic Violence Order / Apprehended Personal Violence Order

What is an AVO?

what is an avoAn AVO, or Apprehended Violence Order, is a court order made to protect a victim from threatened or actual violence, or where there is a fear that violence may be committed. A victim can ask police to apply for an AVO. What is an AVO? An AVO is an order to prevent further violent behaviour or threats.

Depending upon the circumstances, there may be other conditions, such as keeping a perpetrator (or alleged perpetrator) away from, or from contacting a victim, as well as other conditions.

AVOs are serious and should not be taken lightly. If an AVO is broken, the offender can be arrested and charged by police.

There are two types of AVO:

1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs), which are made to protect a victim from someone with whom they have a domestic relationship; and
2. Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs), which are made to protect a victim from someone with whom they do not have a domestic relationship.

Who Can Apply for an AVO?

An AVO can be applied for by police or by a victim directly (by filling out and filing a form at the Court Registry). Any person can apply for an AVO, including a police officer.

AVOs can be provisional, interim or final orders.

In an application for an AVO, the victim is referred to as “the person in need of protection”, and the person against whom the order is made, or sought to be made, is referred to as the “defendant”. Once an order is made, in the AVO the victim or “person in need of protection” is then referred to as the “protected person”.

You can apply for an AVO if:
– You have been harmed by someone, or
– You have been threatened with violence by someone, or
– You are frightened that someone may hurt you in the future.

You do not have to wait until you are actually harmed before you apply for an AVO. If you are afraid that someone may hurt you sometime in the future, you can apply for an AVO to prevent what you fear may happen from happening. Contravening an AVO is a serious offence and can result in jail time.

Provisional AVO

Police will take out a provisional ADVO if they believe it is necessary for a victim’s protection from domestic violence, abuse or harassment by a spouse or partner, ex-partner or other family member. Police may do this whether or not they charge the defendant with a criminal offence.

Police will also take out a provisional APVO if they charge a non-family member with a criminal offence involving violence, harassment or intimidation.  They will occasionally also do so if such a defendant is not being charged with an actual offence, but more often than not, Police will direct the victim to the Court for the purpose of the victim making an application themselves for an APVO. An APVO can be applied for against any person, but most often it will arise if a victim is being stalked or harassed by a neighbour, or other non-family relationship, such as being threatened by a work colleague.

If you have been served with an AVO, it is very important that you understand what it means and what the consequences are if you contravene it.  It is also important to remember that, even though an AVO is made against a defendant, the making of the AVO itself is not a criminal offence.  On the other hand, contravening an AVO certainly is a criminal offence, and an offence that is taken very seriously by the Courts.

Interim AVO or Final AVO

Only a Court can make either an interim AVO or a final AVO.

What’s the Difference Between Interim AVO and Final AVO?

An interim AVO is generally a short-term order. It is made before there is any plea of guilty or finding of guilt. It can occasionally be made without the person against whom the order is made being present, and is made if that person has not had a chance to give their side of the story. If there is a provisional AVO, and the matter comes before the Court, the provisional order cannot be continued, but if the order is still required, then the provisional order is then made as an interim AVO.

A final AVO is a long-term order (most often of 2 years’ duration), made after the person against whom the order is made has been given a chance to tell their side of the story in court, or if that person has pleaded guilty, or been found guilty, of a related criminal offence.

What is an AVO Condition?

There are a number of conditions that can be imposed on an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) in New South Wales. These conditions are designed to protect the victim from further harm and to give them some peace of mind.

There is a standard condition which forms part of all AVOs. It is referred to by the Courts as “Order 1”.

Order 1 is as follows:

Order 1. The defendant must not do any of the following to the protected person, or anyone having a domestic relationship with the protected person:

A) assault or threaten the protected person,

B) stalk, harass or intimidate the protected person, and

C) deliberately or recklessly destroy or damage anything that belongs to the protected person.

Additional orders can be made, depending on the circumstances. These include:

  • The defendant is no longer allowed to reside at the family home.
  • The defendant is not allowed to be in the company of protected person for at least 12 hours after taking alcohol or drugs.
  • The defendant is not allowed within a certain distance from the protected person/s residence, work or school.
  • The defendant is not allowed to possess any firearms or prohibited weapons.
  • The defendant is not allowed to contact the protected person by any means, except via a lawyer.
  • The defendant is not allowed to make any attempt to try and locate the protected person.


If you need legal advice or representation for an AVO, call Criminal Lawyers Sydney and Suburbs on (02) 9533 2269

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