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All about Apprehended Violence Orders 

AVO's are orders from the Local Court that stop the 'defendant' from doing certain things by making them a criminal offence. What they prevent varies - they can stop someone stalking, harassing, intimidating you, coming to your home or school or contacting you at all. AVOs usually have a time limit which can be extended or cut short. Below is an example of an AVO. 

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How an AVO is obtained 

The police can put in place an AVO for right now or someone can apply for one at the Local Court. They can apply by completing an application form.

If you apply yourself there is no AVO in place until the Magistrate has made a decision. If you want an AVO to be in place from the first time you go to Court you need to tell this to the Magistrate. 

You can find your nearest Local Court here. 

The Local Court process in NSW 


The Police issue a provisional AVO or someone applies to the Court

The AVO court process is started by either the Police issuing a Provisional AVO or someone applying to the court by completing an application form and the police giving it to the other person. 


First court event 

If the Police issued a provisional AVO they attend on the 'protected person's' behalf. If someone applied directly to the Court, they must attend.

If you received an AVO you must attend, or it may be made final in your absence. You will be asked by the Magistrate if you agree or disagree with the AVO. You can always ask for time to get legal advice. 


If you disagree with the AVO

- Statement ordered 

If you disagree, the Court will order that the applicant/Police provide a written statement and then give you two weeks after that for you to provide a written statement. This statement is important. It is your evidence - how you tell the Magistrate what happened. 


Second court event 

You go back to court again to confirm if you still disagree and confirm the statements have been written. The Court gives you a hearing date. 



This is the day on which the Magistrate considers your matter. They read the statements and listen to you answer questions (be 'cross-examined'). 

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The AVO and your children

Whether an AVO affects someone seeing their children depends - every AVO has different conditions. You should check if the children are listed and if there are conditions preventing contact. Often where there is an AVO preventing contact with the other parent there is an exception if the contact is about the children, and you have an agreement in writing. An agreement in writing can be a Parenting Plan.

Even if the AVO prevents someone from seeing their children, they still have other legal options. They can apply for a parenting order from the Family Court (which is more powerful than an AVO). 

Problem about an Apprehended Violence Order?
We can help.

  • Are you defending an AVO yourself and there's no criminal charges?

  • Worried the AVO will affect you seeing your children? 

  • Have police put in place an AVO you don't want?

  • Have police told you to apply for an AVO yourself?

  • Are you worried about your AVO not including your children?

  • Do you want stricter conditions on your AVO? 

We can explain the process, give advice about your options and even write your application or statement

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