AVO (Apprehended Violence Order)

AVOs are very serious matters that can affect all areas of your life. If you have children with the person seeking an AVO, you may be stopped from seeing your children if the Court considers it to be appropriate. You may also be ordered to leave your house and not contact the Person In Need Of Protection (PINOP). An AVO may also influence any Family Court proceedings.

AVOs can be sought by Police or a person on their own.

A BREACH of AVO carries a potential $5,500 fine and up to 2-years GAOL.


1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders or ADVOs

An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is made where the people involved are related or have had a domestic or intimate relationship.

2. Apprehended Personal Violence Orders or APVOs

An Apprehended Personal Violence Order or APVO is made where the people involved are not related and do not have any domestic or intimate relationship.

The Magistrate can order an AVO if a defendant consents to an Order being made or if evidence is heard and it is proved that the protected person needs an AVO. The Court must make an Order when a defendant has been found guilty of a domestic violence offence.

If you have been issued with an AVO, you have two choices:

Consent to an Order. If you agree, the Order will start immediately and last for however long you agree to. You will not have to come back to court unless you are charged with breaching the Order. By consenting to the AVO you do not have to agree with what the applicant says happened. You should carefully consider the consequences of an Order being made before consenting. A breach of the AVO carries a potential 2-year term of imprisonment and large fines.

Not consent to an Order. If you do not agree the court will adjourn the case for a contested hearing. Prior to a matter being listed for hearing the Court will order that each party serve written statements they rely on in their case. These statements need to clearly set out the reasons you want, or oppose an AVO.

Types of AVO conditions

If an Order is made, three standard conditions will be included prohibiting the Defendant from

a) Assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or interfering with the protected person;
b) Intimidating the protected person;
c) Stalking the protected person.

In addition, the following extra conditions may be made to protect the Person In Need Of Protection (PINOP)

1. Not to approach the PINOP
2. Not to contact the PINOP by any means whatsoever
3. Not approaching or entering places where the PINOP lives or works
4. Not approaching the protected person after drinking alcohol or taking drugs
5. Preventing or restricting access to firearms by the defendant
6. Not to Damage Property
7. Other conditions as agreed by both parties or decided by the court.

These Orders may affect your ability to spend time with your children. It is possible that any existing Family Law Orders you have for spending time with your children may be changed or suspended. If you have children with the protected person it is very important that you get legal advice.

Consequences of an Order being made

You will not get a criminal record if an AVO is granted. However, other consequences may be as follows:

1. The police keep a record of the Order on a database;
2. If you have any firearms, you must give them to the police. Your licence or permit to own a firearm is automatically suspended by an interim Order and revoked by a final Order;
3. You cannot be given a new firearms licence until 10 years after the Order has ended;
4. You can apply for a licence if the Order is revoked;
5. An Order can also affect licences to work as a security officer and other occupations where a security check is required;
6. If the Order includes children, the Commission for Children and Young People may be notified. It may affect your ability to hold a job that involves contact with children.

Breach of an AVO

A breach of an AVO is a very serious charge. AVOs are Orders of the Court.

If you are convicted of a breach of AVO involving violence, then the Court will likely impose a gaol sentence. The maximum penalty for breaking an AVO is a fine of $5,500 and/or up to two years gaol.

For more information contact Newcastle Courts Lawyers to arrange a free first consultation.