An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a legal order made to protect a Person in Need of Protection (PINOP) from the Defendant, the person whom the order is made against. There are two different AVOs available: domestic (ADVO) and personal (APVO). An ADVO protects individuals from a spouse, de facto partner, ex-partner, family member, carer or other person living in the same household. This essentially covers any relationship to the PINOP that is domestic in nature. An APVO protects individuals from anyone who they are not in a domestic or family relationship with. Both types of AVOs do the same thing: impose conditions on the Defendant. Three mandatory conditions the Defendant must comply with are: not to assault, harass or threaten the protected person, not to intimidate the protected person, and not to stalk the protected person. Any additional prohibitions or restrictions on the behaviour of the Defendant can be imposed by police or the Court if it deems them necessary to protect the PINOP or any child involved. These conditions in their most restrictive form might prevent the Defendant from residing at home or require them to keep a certain physical distance from the PINOP and to not contact that person. In appropriate circumstances, an ADVO may only have the three mandatory conditions, i.e. not to assault, intimidate or stalk the PINOP. This, for example, enables a married couple to make efforts to mend the relationship by way of counselling, or allows for the continuance of parental duties, such as pick-up/drop-off, without disruption due to stringent conditions.


There are three different forms an AVO may take: Provisional, Interim, and Final. Provisional Orders are short-term AVOs that can be granted in urgent situations without the matter having to be brought before the Court. Police decide, based on information provided by the PINOP, whether to make a Provisional AVO. It is a requirement that the PINOP had a fear or apprehension of violence at the time of the incident which led them to go to the Police. A provisional AVO cannot be amended until it is brought before the Court, when it becomes an Interim Order. The Court has no jurisdiction to deal with a Provisional Order before this time, meaning a Defendant can suffer consequences such as being suspended from their job as a security guard, or having their firearms confiscated. Once the Defendant submits that the Order should be Interim, the Court can amend or extend a Provisional Order or put protection(s) in place for the victim until a final ADVO application can be considered by the Court. An application is made pursuant to section 18 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) (‘the Act’). A final AVO can be made by the Court after a defended hearing, if a Defendant has been served with the AVO documents but fails to appear in Court, or in cases where both parties consent to the conditions specified in the Order. The duration of a final AVO is specified by the Court and can be as long as the Court deems necessary to ensure the safety of the protected person, or 12 months if there is no date specified. If an AVO is breached, a Defendant can face criminal charges for breaching the Order under section 14 of the Act.


The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has published statistics on the number of AVOs granted by the Court by order type from 2014 – 2018. In NSW, the number of final AVOs granted by the Court in 2014 was 26,482 for Domestic AVOs and 5430 for Personal AVOs. In 2018, there were 31,435 Domestic AVOs and 4323 Personal AVOs. One can see from these figures that there has been an increase of ADVOs and a decrease of PDVOs. BOCSAR has also published the breach rates of ADVOs by order type from July 2013 – June 2014. In this period, 5% of Provisional Orders were breached, whilst 9.4% of Interim Orders were breached, and 19.7% of Final Orders were breached. Of course, these statistics also reflect the reality that, as Final Orders have the longest life span, it makes logical sense that with more time available for breaches to occur, these do do happen. If the Defendant breaches any of the conditions outlined in the Order then they can be arrested and charged with a criminal offence, attracting penalties of up to $5,500 and/or imprisonment for up to two years.

For more info on the offence of contravene AVO check our dedicated page.


Although an AVO is not a criminal offence a person gets charge with, as indicated above, it may still affect the Defendant on the receiving end. In cases where one’s occupation is that of a security guard, they must legally be suspended from their role whilst they have an AVO against them, and for those who have firearms must turn them in and are prohibited from using them for the duration of the AVO. These are just a couple of examples where a Defendant may feel the affects of an Order against them.

If you or anyone you know is facing an AVO, please get in touch with our specialist criminal lawyers so that you can have your case be heard fairly, and have an application lodged on your behalf for its amendment or removal.

Get In Touch!

"*" indicates required fields