Apprehended Violen​ce​ Orders

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a court order that aims to protect a person from another person that causes them to fear for their safety.

An AVO can protect a person from:​

  • violence or threats of violence
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • harassment.

An AVO can also protect property that has been damaged or threatened with damage.

Hint iconAn AVO is sometimes called an Intervention Order, Restraining Order, Protection Order, Domestic Violence Order or Family Violence Order.

This topic has information about:

  • applying for an AVO
  • responding to an application for an AVO.​
​ New Plain English Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) started on 3 December 2016.

AlertFrom 25 November 2017 all Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) are now automatically recognised and enforceable. This means that NSW Police can enforce DVOs made on or after this date in other Australian states and territories. Other states and territories can also enforce an ADVO made in NSW from this date. Other states and territories can also vary or revoke orders made in NSW, and make new orders for the same parties.

AlertApprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs) are not nationally recognised and enforceable. You must register an APVO interstate to have it recognised. 

​Types of AVOs

​​There are two types of AVOs. It is helpful to understand the difference because there are differences with how they are dealt with in the court:

  • ​An AVO protecting a person from domestic violence is called an 'Apprehended Domestic Violence Order' or 'ADVO'. Domestic violence is violence done by someone who you were or are in a domestic relationship with like a family member, husband or wife or partner. It also includes your new partner's ex-partner. 
  • An AVO protecting a person from personal violence is called an 'Apprehended Personal Violence Order' or 'APVO'. Personal violence is violence done by someone like a neighbour, co-worker, or friend.​

For more information, see Types of AVOs.​​​

Getting an AVO

This section has information about applying for an AVO. 

If you are experiencing violence you can apply for an AVO. You can also apply for an AVO if:

  • you are in fear of being assaulted
  • you are being intimidated, harassed or molested (either in person or by telephone calls, text messages, emails, or in other ways, including through Facebook or other social media), and fear for your safety
  • you are being stalked by someone where you live, where you work, or at places that you go.

For more information, see Getting an Apprehended Violence Order.

Defendin​g an AVO

This section has information about how you can respond to an application for an AVO after you have been served.

If you are being accused of assaulting, intimidating or stalking another person, the police or the person saying you are doing this can apply for an ADVO or APVO against you.

For more information, see Defending an Apprehended Violence Order.

AVOs and Family Law

This section has information about Family Law and how this can affect the way an AVO works.

For more information, see Apprehended Violence Orders and Family Law.


If you want a visual overview of how to get or defend an AVO, see Flowcharts.

Who's who in court

This section shows you what the courtroom will look like, who the different people are and where you should sit when you go to court.

For more information, see Who's who in court.


This section lists a number of sample forms and orders. It explains what the different sections in those forms and AVOs mean.

For more information, see Forms - Apprehended Violence Orders.

Getting more help

​This section has information about services that can help people who are in domestic or personal violence situations.

For more information, see Getting more help.

Last updated: November 2017

Protected person at police station

Further information

​​​Domestic Violence Line - 1​​800 656 463  (TTY 1800 6​71 4​42)
24 hours 7 days

Legal Aid NSW - Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW

Legal Aid NSW - Have you been charged with a domestic violence offence?

State Library NSW - Hot Topics 87: Domestic Violence

Attorney General's Department - National Domestic Violence Order Scheme