Criminal Law

Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)


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What is an AVO?

An AVO is an Apprehended Violence Order, and it will affect your capacity to keep in touch with your loved ones or certain other people in your life as it a court made order against you to restrict contact. It seeks to protect a ‘person in need of protection’ (PINOP), from violence, harassment, intimidation or stalking.

We can battle against AVOs that are made without a valid purpose such as in Family law matters where they may be used for retribution or strengthen the legal proceedings.

How to apply for an AVO

A person over the age of 16 can apply for a private AVO at the court registry or alternatively a Police Officer can apply for an AVO. Police will assess the situation and may issue an AVO even when the PINOP doesn’t want an AVO, if there are welfare and safety concerns made by the police officer.

If the AVO is approved, it can either be in the form of an application for an AVO, provisional AVO or interim AVO before it gets finally determined in court.

Types of AVO

There are two types of AVO:

  1. ADVO (Apprehended Domestic Violence Order) – relates to the protection of a person/s where a domestic relationship exists between the parties. Examples are parent and child; married; intimate relationship; de-facto relationship.
  2. APVO (Apprehended Personal Violence Order) – relates to the protection of a person/s where there is no domestic relationship between the parties. Examples are co-workers, neighbours, friends or acquaintances.

Consequences of an AVO

An AVO is a civil court proceeding and not a criminal conviction and will not appear on your criminal record. However it can still have a major effect on your professional and personal life. It can place immense strain on your family life even when you are allowed to continue to have contact and live with the PINOP.

There always remains a worry about a possible breach of a condition and that it may be reported to police for investigation. Breaching an AVO will result in significant criminal charges which are treated very seriously by courts.

It may also affect your ability to maintain a relationship with your children or partner and extended family when you are prevented from living or associating with the person who applied for the AVO.

AVO Conditions in NSW

Condition 1 is a mandatory condition and appears on all AVOs.

1. The defendant must not do any of the following to (the protected people), or anyone they have a domestic relationship with:

A) assault or threaten,

B) stalk, harass or intimidate and

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

Additional orders can be sought depending on the circumstances, for example restrictions put in place against the Defendant:

  • No longer allowed to reside at the family home
  • Not allowed to contact the protected person except through the use of a lawyer,
  • Not allowed within a certain distance from the protected person/s residence, work or school.
  • Not allowed to be in the company of protected person for at least 12 hours after taking alcohol or drugs.
  • Not allowed to possess any firearms or prohibited weapons.
  • Not allowed to try and locate the Protected Person.

Defending an AVO

If the there is insufficient evidence, an AVO can be withdrawn and dismissed alleviating the stress and associated costs of going to court.

Negotiations can effectively be done by our lawyers to have the AVO dropped or successfully defended by presenting evidence that the protected person (PINOP) does not fear and has no reasonable grounds to fear the defendant and an AVO isn’t necessary to protect the people named in it.

Can I stop or vary an AVO?

The ‘person in need of protection’ (PINOP) cannot make a decision to stop or withdraw and AVO, when the application for an AVO is made by the police. Personal Avo’s can be withdrawn by the PINOP or their lawyer, in this case the defendant can make an application to the court for legal costs.

In Police AVO matters we can represent you and requests can be made to the police officer who applied for the AVO, which would be done through a retraction letter. It will then be a matter for the police to decide whether to withdraw the AVO, or continue with the proceedings.

If an AVO is in place it can be varied or revoked in court. If you want ease or delete AVO conditions, an AVO variation application needs to be made.

Generally, AVOs last for periods of between 6 months to two years. In certain circumstances it can be in force until it is deemed necessary.

Book a consultation today

If you require representation or advice in an AVO matter, get in touch with us or book an appointment online to talk about your case. 

We’ve helped many clients achieve satisfactory outcomes and offer fixed fee initial consultations. We look forward to assisting you.


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