how and when to obtain an avo

What is an AVO?

In New South Wales, an AVO refers to an Apprehended Violence Order, also known as a restraining order or a protection order. It is an order that is issued by a Court and will last for a set amount of time (that can be extended if needed).

The purpose of an AVO is to protect someone and prevent violence. This means you do not have to wait for the defendant in the AVO to commit a crime against you.

If the person you made an order against breaches the AVO, they can be charged with a criminal offence. As such, placing an AVO against someone is not a criminal charge and doesn’t go on their criminal record, but is intended as a means of protection.

There are two types of AVO:

1.  An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is made when the defendant and the protected person(s) have some kind of close relationship, such as family members or people living in the same house – this includes roles such as paid carers, or partners.

2.  An Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) is made in cases where the defendant and the protected person(s) are not related and have no domestic or intimate relationship. Examples include abuse from neighbours or a stalker.

When an AVO is made, three conditions will always be included. These conditions prohibit the following behaviour:

•    Assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or interfering with the protected person(s);
•    Intimidating the protected person(s); and
•    Stalking the protected person(s);
Anyone in a domestic relationship with the protected person is also protected by these conditions. This may include children.

Extra conditions may be included in the AVO to prohibit additional behaviours, such as:
•    Approaching the protected person(s);
•    Approaching or entering places where the protected person(s) may live, work or go to;
•    Approaching the protected person(s), or places where the protected person(s) may be after drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs;
•    Damaging property

You can apply to change the conditions of an AVO if there is a change of circumstances (e.g. add additional conditions). If you have children, these conditions will also protect them.   For legal advice you can trust, talk to our criminal law experts in Wollongong.

What Happens if the AVO is Breached?

Although it is not a criminal charge, an Apprehended Violence Order is a court order and it must be obeyed.

Once an AVO is made if the defendant breaches the Order, they could be charged with a criminal offence.

It is important to keep a copy of your AVO with you at all times and call the police as soon as the defendant breaches any of the conditions on it.

Applying for an AVO

There are two ways you can apply for an AVO:

1.  You can apply yourself, called a Private Application
You can make a private application through your Local Court. You will need to attend Court and explain why you need to have an AVO made.

2.  The Police can make an application for you
If you request an AVO through the police, the they police will be responsible for determining which AVO best suits your circumstances. The police will keep in touch about the Order and inform you when you need to attend court. A Police Prosecutor will represent you in Court.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

For private applications, you do not need a lawyer and can represent yourself in Court. However, appearing in Court self-represented will require you to have an understanding of court submissions and hearing processes. If handled incorrectly, this could result in your application being dismissed. Representing yourself also means having to directly confront the person you are making the application against and questioning them in court.

For these reasons, working with criminal lawyers is the best option. Your lawyer can take care of the AVO application process for you.

DGB Lawyers have an expert team of criminal lawyers in Wollongong who can help you choose which AVO suits your circumstances, explaining how the process will work and what rights it provides, representing you in court and taking care of questioning the other person. They can also help to take care of the paperwork.

The Court Hearing

On hearing your case, the court can make an AVO if:
•    The defendant consents to an AVO being made (a consent order); or
•    After hearing evidence, the Magistrate is satisfied that there are fears for your safety and those fears are reasonable; or
•    The defendant has been served (notified of the court date) but does not show up at court

 Consent Order

A consent order is when the defendant consents to the AVO being made. This does not count as an admission of doing anything wrong, but makes the process straightforward and allows your order to be made on the same day.

Hearings and Interim Orders

If the defendant does not consent to the order, your case will usually be adjourned for a short period. The Magistrate will then review your case and make a decision about whether there are grounds to make the Order. Generally, you may be asked to supply written statements to the court by a set date.

Because this period entails some waiting, it is important to ask the court for an Interim (temporary) Apprehended Violence Order to protect you until the final hearing.

The hearing will be based on the evidence provided in the statements you were asked to supply. In some cases, the court also allows additional evidence.  Contact DGB Lawyers in Wollongong to represent you in court and assist you in the areas of Criminal Law, assaults, DUI, AVO etc.

Contact DGB Lawyers

DGB Lawyers can also help you defend in the areas of Criminal law like AVO. If you have been served with an AVO and you need information and advice about your rights and options, our criminal lawyers in Wollongong can help you with this process.

For reliable, responsive and personalised legal advice contact DGB Lawyers and make an appointment with one of our highly skilled and professional team members.

Contact us via email at or through our online contact form.

Alternatively, call or visit our Sydney offices:

96 Kembla Street,
Wollongong, NSW 2500
Ph. (02) 4229 5699