​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

​Getting an Apprehended Violence Order – Frequently Asked Questions

​Applying​​​ for an Apprehended Violence Order

1. I went to the police and made a statement about the fight I had with my boyfriend but the police won't make an application for an ADVO for me. What can I do?

The police must make an application for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO), unless they have a good reason not to, where:

  • they believe a domestic violence offence has been, is being, or will be committed against you,
  • a person stalks or intimidates you with the intention of causing you to fear physical or mental harm, or
  • an offence against a child or young person has been, is being, or will be committed. ​​​

If the police do not make an application on your behalf, you can go to the Local Court and make a private application for an ADVO.

For more information, see Applying for an AVO through the Local Court - Step by step guide. If you believe that the police should have made the application on your behalf, you can ask to speak to a supervisor at the Police Station. For further information, go to the NSW Police Force or the NSW Ombudsman website.

If you want to complain about the actions of the police, you should get legal advice.​

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2. My partner was served with an AVO. I don't think I need the AVO to protect me. What can we do?

The police made the decision to apply for the AVO on your behalf and only the police can withdraw their application. At the mention, you can tell the Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) or the police prosecutor that you want to withdraw the application. The police prosecutor may:

  • agree and apply to the court to withdraw the application
  • ask for an adjournment to allow you time to make representations (write to the police) and explain why you want the AVO withdrawn
  • refuse to withdraw the application if they think you need the AVO for your protection.

Before making an order withdrawing the application, the magistrate may ask you some questions about the application and the reasons it was made.

You, the defendant or the police can apply to vary or revoke a Provisional AVO made by the police, or an Interim AVO, unless the AVO protects a child under 16 years of age, in which case only the police can apply.

Alert iconIf you are applying for the variation or revocation of a Provisional ADVO issued by the police, the application must be made at the court where the AVO application is listed.

If you are in this situation it is a good idea to get legal advice before you go to court. If you are female, you could also speak to your local Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS), a service that helps women in domestic violence situations. For more information, see Getting more help.

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3. My elderly father told me that my sister's husband is quite abusive to him and yells at him all the time. Can my father do anything about this?

Yes. If your father fears that your sister's husband may cause him physical or mental harm, he can contact the police. The police can make an application for an AVO on his behalf, or he can contact the court and make a private application for an AVO.

If an AVO is made, your father and sister's husband can still live in the same house as long as no specific orders are made saying they cannot live together.

For more information on what different types of orders can be made and what they mean, see Mandatory and additional orders.

For more information on getting an AVO, see Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order.

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4. In the last two weeks, I've noticed my ex-partner hanging around my workplace and house. He has also been calling my mobile and leaving threatening messages. I'm afraid he may go through with his threats. Can I do anything about this?

Yes. You can apply for an AVO. It doesn't matter how long ago the relationship ended. You should contact the police if you have fears for your safety.

For more information, see Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order.

For some useful referrals, see Getting more help.

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5. I have a neighbour who has threatened me in the past. Can I get an AVO?

You can contact the police and report your neighbour's actions to them. The police may decide to apply for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) on your behalf. If the police refuse to make the application, you can contact your Local Court and try to make a private application for an APVO.

For an APVO application to be successful you must prove that you fear that your neighbour will be violent towards you, or intimidate, harass, or stalk you, and that it is reasonable for you to have that fear. If you are not sure if you need an APVO, you should get legal advice.

Alert iconAll applications for an APVO will be referred to mediation unless the court believes there is a good reason not to.

For more information, see Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order.

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6. A couple of weeks ago one of my work colleagues started following me around. She has left flowers on my desk and sent me inappropriate text messages. What can I do to get her to stop?

If you are worried about your safety, you can contact the police and report your work colleague's actions to them. If the police won't apply for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) on your behalf, you can contact your Local Court and make an application yourself.

Alert iconAll applications for an APVO will be referred to mediation unless the court believes there is a good reason not to.

If the Community Justice Centre considers it appropriate (if there are no fears for your safety or significant power imbalances) you can also consider mediating the case.

For more information, see Mediation, or go to the Community Justice Centres website.

You could also report these incidents to your supervisor or manager at work.

For more information, see Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order.

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7. I want to take out an AVO against a man who lives in our street. The problem is I don't know his name or which house he lives in. Can I still get an AVO?

You need to know the name of the person you need protection from and you need to know their address. If you do not have this information you can't serve a copy of your application on the defendant. Provisional, Interim, or Final Apprehended Violence Orders are not in force if they have not been served. If you are worried about this person's behaviour, you should call the police.

If you still want to get an AVO, you should get legal advice.

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8. I have left my partner and am staying with a friend. A Provisional AVO has been made and my partner is forbidden to contact me but I need to go home to get my clothes and computer. What can I do?

Your case will soon be heard in court. You can ask the court to make a Property Recovery Order at this time, so that your partner has to give you access to your home while you collect your belongings. The court can also order that the police or another person come with you. It is an offence to contravene a Property Recovery Order and your partner will be breaking the law if they try to stop you or interfere while you retrieve your property. For more information, see Recovering personal property​.

If you need to recover your property urgently and cannot wait until the matter is heard in court, you should contact the police as they may be able to help you retrieve your belongings. You should make a list of all the personal belongings that you need to collect.

The police cannot help you take property if you and the defendant disagree about who owns it, as disputes about property ownership need to be resolved in court.

If you are female you could also contact your local Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS). For more help, see Getting more help.

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9. I have had a lot of trouble with my neighbour. When I walk my dog past her house she yells, "I'm going to get you and your stupid, ugly dog". Recently, I have seen her leaning over the fence and feeding my dog something out of her hand. Every time she does, the dog is sick afterwards. I'm worried that she is poisoning the dog. What can I do?

If you fear your neighbour, and you feel she is harassing, threatening or intimidating you, you may be able to get an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO).

For more information, see Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order.

Before you apply for an AVO, you may wish to try mediating your dispute with your neighbour at a Community Justice Centre (CJC). In APVO matters, the magistrate must send you to mediation unless there is a good reason not to.

For more information, see Mediation, or go to the Community Justice Centres website.

If you are not able to resolve the dispute through mediation and you go ahead with an application for an AVO, you can ask for certain orders to be made in the AVO that are relevant to your particular circumstances. For example, if your neighbour is doing something that threatens your property, including your dog, you may ask for Order 11, which stops the defendant from damaging or interfering with your property. You may also ask for an order that specifically refers to your dog and to your circumstances. The court can make this Order 12.

For more information, see Mandatory and additional orders.

Also, it is illegal for any person to commit acts of cruelty upon animals. In particular, it is illegal to give a poison to an animal with the intent of killing or injuring them. If a person is found guilty of doing this they may be fined, imprisoned or both. If you suspect someone is committing acts of cruelty upon your dog, you should contact the police.

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10. I'm having problems with my neighbour. I have been told I can get an AVO but I don't want to go to court. What can I do?

There are many ways that problems can be sorted out without going to court.

You could try:

  • ​talking to your neighbour about your problems
  • mediating your dispute with your neighbour at a Community Justice Centre (CJC). This is a free service where you can talk to your neighbour in an informal environment and CJC mediators will work with you to try and resolve your dispute. You do not need to have a lawyer to attend a CJC mediation.
For more information, see Mediation, or go to the Community Justice Centres website.

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11. My neighbour plays loud music at all hours of the day and night. Can I get an AVO to stop them?

AVOs relate to violence and fear of violence. They do not apply to behaviour that is simply a nuisance. There are ways that you can deal with noise made by your neighbours. At first you may wish to try talking to your neighbour or mediating your dispute at a Community Justice Centre (CJC).

If this does not work you could contact the police or your local council. Your council may be able to serve a notice on your neighbour requiring them to control their noise levels.

You can also seek a 'Noise Abatement Order' through the Local Court.

For more information about noise abatement, contact LawAccess NSW.

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Going to court 

1. The police applied for an AVO on my behalf against my boyfriend. They have told me it is listed for mention. What does this mean and do I have to go?

The first time an AVO case is dealt with at court is called a mention. At the mention, your boyfriend might agree to the AVO being made, let the court know that he wants to defend the application or ask for more time to get legal advice.

You should go to the mention unless the police prosecutor or the DVLO tells you that you do not have to attend. The police prosecutor may need to talk to you about the orders you need if your boyfriend consents to the AVO, or you may be required to give evidence if you want an Interim AVO made to protect you until the hearing.

If you are female and you are concerned for your safety at court, you may want to stay in the safe room if there is one at the court. Speak to the DVLO or the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) workers in the safe room about your concerns before the mention.

For more information, see Mention.

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2. I made a private application for an AVO against my husband. I don't want to go through with it. Can I have it withdrawn at the mention?

If you don't want the AVO because you don't fear your husband anymore, you can ask the court for leave (permission) to withdraw your application.

If you made a private application for an AVO you may be asked why you want to withdraw the application.

If the police made the application on your behalf, you should talk about withdrawing the application with the police prosecutor or Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO). The prosecutor may agree and apply to the court to withdraw the application or they may refuse to withdraw the application.

You should get legal advice before you withdraw your application. The court can order costs against you in some circumstances. For more information on costs see Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases.

For more information on the mention, see Mention.

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3. I made a private application for an AVO against a neighbour. She said that she would enter into an undertaking if I agreed to withdraw the application. What does this mean?

An undertaking is a formal promise from your neighbour to the court not to do certain things. Undertakings are not the same as AVOs because breaching an undertaking is not a crime. Undertakings are kept on the court record and the court can take them into consideration if another application for an AVO is made.

If you are thinking about agreeing to withdraw an application if your neighbour enters into undertakings you should get legal advice.

For more information on undertakings, see Mention.​

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4. The police made an application for an AVO on my behalf against my father. At the mention my father did not consent to the AVO. The magistrate then made orders that both sides file and serve witness statements. Now we have been given a date for the hearing. Do I need to attend?

Yes. As the protected person, you are the most important witness for the police. Even though you have given the police your statement, you may still need to give oral evidence in court. At the hearing your father or his lawyer may cross-examine (question) you about the evidence in your statement.

Based on the evidence the magistrate will decide whether or not to make a Final AVO. The magistrate needs to be satisfied that you fear your father and that those fears are reasonable.

For more information, see Preparing for the hearing - Step by step guide.

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5. I have made a private application for an AVO against a former friend. I have to go to the mention next week. ​Will the court want me to get written statements from my witnesses?

At the mention, the magistrate or registrar will want to know if you still want the AVO. If you still want the AVO, the magistrate or registrar will then ask your former friend how he or she wants to respond.

What happens next depends on what your former friend wants to do.

You will only need to get written statements from your witnesses if your former friend does not consent (agree) to the AVO. The magistrate or registrar will then usually make directions (orders) for you and your former friend to both file and serve written statements. You will also be given another date to come back to court for a further mention, to make sure you have followed the directions.

For more information, see Mention.

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6. I have been given a hearing date but I can't make it. I travel a lot for work and will be overseas on that date. What happens if I can't attend?

If you do not attend the hearing your application may be dismissed.

You can make an application to have the hearing date changed. You will need to complete an Application to Vacate a Hearing Date form. The form is available from the Local Court registry or the Local Courts website.

If the application is accepted the court will write to you and tell you the new hearing date.

Alert Icon

Alert iconYou need to file an Application to Vacate a Hearing Date together with any documents in support e.g. copy of your plane ticket or itinerary, at least 21 days before the hearing date, or, in urgent matters as soon as possible.

If you don't go to court or you ask for the hearing to be adjourned (postponed), the magistrate may order you to pay the defendant's costs.

For more information, see Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases.

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7. At the mention, the magistrate made a timetable. She ordered that I file and serve my witness statements on a certain date and that the defendant file and serve witness statements in reply two weeks later. I filed my witness statements and sent them to the defendant but I haven't been served with any witness statements from the defendant. What can I do?

You should contact the court registry as soon as possible and tell them. The court staff can check the orders that were made by the magistrate. The court staff can also check the file and see if the defendant has filed the statements with the registry. If the defendant has filed a copy with the registry you may be able to go and collect a copy.

If the court registry can't help you, you will need to tell the magistrate at the next mention that the defendant has not followed the orders.

The magistrate may adjourn the matter to give the defendant more time, make a Final AVO or give you a hearing date and proceed without the defendant's witness statements.

For more information, see Mention.


8. At the mention, the magistrate ordered that we prepare witness statements. What information do I need to put in my statement?

Your witness statement must include all of the evidence you want to give to the magistrate. You will not be able to give any more evidence at the hearing, unless you are given permission by the court. You will only be able to be cross examined at the hearing (asked questions by the defendant or their lawyer).

For more information, including instructions on how to prepare your statement and to see a sample statement, see Written statements.

If you are not sure what to do, and you need more help, you should get legal advice.

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After court 

1. The court made an AVO against my ex-boyfriend for two years. It expires in one month. I have seen him driving by my house a few times and the other day I received a letter from him saying that he is looking forward to seeing me when the AVO is finished. What should I do?

If the AVO is about to expire and you still fear your ex-boyfriend, you can apply to the court for an extension of the AVO.

For more information, see Extensions, revocations and variations.

Your ex-boyfriend's actions may also be a breach of the current AVO, depending on which orders were made. You should report this to the police as soon as possible.

For more information, see What to do if an Apprehended Violence Order is breached.

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2. I applied for an AVO against my neighbour. The m ag istrate said that she would only make the mandatory orders for a 12 month period. What does this mean?

Mandatory orders are orders that must be included in all AVOs. Mandatory orders are sometimes called 'standard orders'. From 3 December 2016, these orders are listed in the AVO under the heading 'Orders about behaviour.' 

There are also additional orders that can be made.

For more information, see Mandatory and additional orders.

The magistrate's decision to make the mandatory orders for a period of 12 months means that the defendant cannot assault or threaten you, stalk, harass or intimidate you or any person that you are in a domestic relationship with, or intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage your property. If the defendant does anything to breach the AVO within the 12 months you should call the police. The defendant may be charged with contravening the AVO. If the defendant assaults or stalks you they may also be charged with other criminal offences.

For more information, see What to do if an Apprehended Violence Order is breached.

If the defendant does any of these things after the 12 month period, they may still be committing a criminal offence, but they are not breaching the AVO unless you have applied for, and been granted, an extension of the AVO.

For more information, see Extensions, revocations and variations.

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3. The police applied for an AVO on my behalf against my husband. The court made the mandatory orders about behaviour and an order, which said that he was not to contact me except through his lawyer. He has sent me hundreds of text messages since then. Is he breaching the AVO?

If a defendant contacts you directly when the AVO says he can only contact you through your lawyer, he will be breaching the AVO. He may have also breached other orders in the AVO. You should call the police and show them copies of the text messages.

For more information, see What to do if an Apprehended Violence Order is breached.

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4. I applied for an AVO against my father. The court m ade the mandatory orders and also an order that he must not live at our home anymore. My father moved out and received counselling for his anger issues. I would like him to come back home, but I still want the protection of the AVO. Can I get the AVO changed so that we can live in the same house?

You or the defendant can apply to vary (change) an AVO. If the police made the original application, they can also apply to vary the AVO. If the AVO protects a child under 16 years of age, only the police can apply to vary the AVO.

It is possible to vary the AVO, so that only the mandatory orders (standard orders) apply. From 3 December 2016, these orders are listed under the heading 'Orders about behaviour.'  These orders do not stop you and your father from living in the same house.

For more information, see Extensions, revocations and variations.

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5. My neighbours were threatening me and I applied for an A VO against them. The court made the AVO but only the orders under the heading 'Orders about behaviour.' Now they've started dumping their rubbish in my yard. What can I do?

If you think your neighbours are breaching the mandatory orders (also known as 'standard orders') you should report their actions to the police. From 3 December 2016, the standard orders include an order that the person must not intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage any property of the protected​ person. If you are unsure whether their behaviour is a breach, you should get legal advice. For more information, see What to do if an Apprehended Violence Order is breached.

You may also apply to the court to have the AVO varied (changed) to include an additional order. For example, if your orders were made before 3 December 2016 and do not include an order about damage to property, you could apply for your orders to be varied to include this sort of order. 

For more information on what the additional orders mean, see Mandatory and additional orders.

The court will only vary the APVO if there has been a change in the circumstances that were in place when the original order was made.

For more information, see Extensions, revocations and variations.

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6. I have an AVO against my neighbour. I know my neighbour often goes shooting with his friends and I'm scared he has some guns at his house. Is he allowed to keep the guns?

If you have a Provisional or Interim AVO, the police can seize your neighbour's firearms, and if they have a firearms licence it will be automatically suspended until a final decision is made.

If you have a Final AVO, your neighbour would have had to immediately surrender any firearms to the police, and if they had a firearms licence it would have been automatically cancelled.

If you know that the defendant has firearms, you should call the police immediately or go to your nearest police station with a copy of your order.

For more information, see What to do if an Apprehended Violence Order is breached and Consequences of an Apprehended Violence Order.

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7. Two months ago the Court made an AVO against my ex-girlfriend. I have decided to leave NSW and move in with my sister who lives in Victoria. My ex-girlfriend often travels to Victoria for work. I'm scared that she will follow me and move to Victoria. What can I do?

You can have the AVO registered in Victoria.

For more information, see Interstate orders.

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8. I have a Final AVO against my husband. We were renting an apartment together and his name is on the lease. He claims that because he is a tenant he is allowed to come over, even though the AVO says he has to stay away from the apartment. I'm also worried because I can't afford to live in the apartment on my own but we still have 6 months on the lease. What can I do?

The defendant's tenancy will end automatically when a Final AVO is made restricting him from that residence.

If you are not on the lease you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to be added as a tenant.

If you don't want to stay in the apartment it is possible to end the tenancy without having to pay compensation to your landlord, since the Final AVO says that the co-tenant (your husband) cannot enter the apartment.

If you live in social housing (Housing NSW, Aboriginal housing or community housing) you can also be added as a tenant. You can apply to your landlord or to NCAT. You will need to show that you fit the eligibility criteria for your landlord.

For more information or help contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service or LawAccess NSW.


For more Frequently Asked Questions, see: