Apprehended Violence Orders

AVO Lawyers Sydney NSW

In Sydney NSW and the rest of Australia, an Apprehended Violence Order or commonly abbreviated to AVO can make a significant impact on your life.  There may be restrictions with your ability to keep in contact with loved ones, as well as damage to your relationships.

We have the experience to help fight them if they are unfairly imposed, and get them dismissed so you can get on with life and move forward.

What is an AVO or Restraining Order?

An Apprehended Violence Order avos is an order made against you by the court to protect a “person in need of protection” this can be abbreviated as (PINOP).  These orders serve the purpose of providing protection to a person who has a reasonable and founded fear that someone will perform an act of violence or bodily harm towards them.  A common example of this is where violent behavior or intimidation has occurred, causing the PINOP to feel threatened and to think that it may occur again.

However, apprehended violence orders may also be used for improper reasons.

Here is an example below:

A spouse or partner may use it to get revenge or further their personal interests.  This may include furthering their own family law proceedings with custody and divorce, as well as visa applications.

There are 3 types of AVO’s in NSW:


Police AVOs may be made when the police are concerned for the safety of the person in need of protection.  These are often related to offences of assault or a sexual assault offence.  In such circumstances an AVO may be issued by the police even if the PINOP has not requested one.

Private – Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)

An apprehended domestic violence order can be issued if a familial relationship exists such as de-facto or spousal relationships. This also includes those living in the same property, those in parenting or caregiving relationships and relatives.

Private – Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)

An APVO personal violence order can be issued where there is no familial relationship and includes neighbors, work colleagues and friends or acquaintances.

How will I be affected by an AVO?

Not only are your relationships with the PINOP affected, it may also affect your relationships with your family and friends.  This can indirectly affect your ability to maintain a consistent connection with your children through losing custody or not being able to enter property where they reside.

Whilst you will not receive a criminal record it can still impact your professional life.  Any outstanding AVO’s will show up if a background offence check is performed on you.  This will affect your work opportunities where children or legal caregiving are involved.

What is the process of getting an AVO?

Here is a summary of the likely process that you will do through if someone applied for an AVO against you.

1. They apply for an apprehended violence order form against you.

These forms are available on the Law Access NSW website and are to be filed against you by the PINOP.

2. An initial court date is set to decide the AVO.

This date is known as a mention.  This will usually be held in a local court.  Here the Magistrate will want to know whether you are intending to defend the AVO or are prepared to consent to the order.  You should consider whether or not you will want to consent as there will be some negative ramifications that we mentioned above.  If you consent you will have to abide to specific conditions of the law and make sure you are not in breach of them.

3. There are two ways to consent to an AVO:

  • You may consent without an admission of guilt
  • You may consent with an admission of guilt

4. Defence for an AVO: The law

If you choose to defend the AVO the courts will set a hearing date at a local court to determine if it is actually necessary.  An interim AVO may be issued temporarily up until the hearing date if necessary. It is strongly recommended to choose a top Sydney criminal lawyer for legal advice and criminal defence on these matters.

5. Service of statements:

During the lead up to the hearing you will need to attend court with your lawyers to serve statements between the defendant and victim.

6. The hearing:

At the hearing the magistrate will read the statements provided by both parties and allow them to be cross-examined

7. Decision by Magistrate:

After hearing all the evidence the magistrate at the local courts will then make a decision and reveal the result on whether the AVO will be granted or dismissed

8. Decision if you are not present at hearing:

If a party is not present at the hearing the court may continue to hear the matter and make a decision, adjourn the hearing to a later date, issue a warrant for your arrest, issue a warrant for the applicants arrest or set an interim order until the next hearing date.

How lawyers can help clients get an AVO Lifted:

In any case, for courts to issue one of these there must be reasonable grounds that the PINOP is in fear of a violent offence against them.

An application for an AVO involves the applicant to prove this based on a balance of probabilities.  In such circumstances AVOs can be defended with the help of AVO lawyers Sydney in the following ways:

  1. Providing evidence that the applicant does not fear stalking, intimidation or a violent act being committed against them by the person the AVO is directed at. Such evidence includes phone records and any written correspondence.
  2. Showing that the applicant does not have reasonable grounds to fear the defendant
  3. Showing that the feared conduct is not serious enough to justify an AVO. If the offence in question can be proved to be low level or trivial, it will not be granted.

Contravening or breaching an AVO Conditions:

Contravene of the conditions can have serious legal consequences under the law.

An example if you have a condition that states you may not contact the PINOP in any way, you will be in breach of that condition if you attempt to contact that person.  This includes communicating with the person online or in person, or perhaps trespassing on their property.

In order for the prosecution to prove the breach two elements will be looked at:

  1. The actual condition that was breached
  2. That it was breached knowingly and not accidentally

The maximum penalty for breach of AVO is a fine of $5000 and imprisonment for up to 2 years.  If you are concerned or have breached your conditions it is strongly recommended that you contact our team for legal help, the top AVO lawyers in Sydney. We are a reputable law firm with the experience to get the best result for every client.