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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > AVOs > Defending an AVO > Responding to an application for an AVO

Final Apprehended Violence Orders

A magistrate can make a Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) if:

If a Final AVO is made, you should consider:

You do not go to court

If you have been served with the AVO documents but do not go to court on the date of the mention, the magistrate can make a Final AVO without you being there. This is referred to as making orders 'in your absence' or making an order 'ex-parte'.

Alert IconIf a Final AVO is made in your absence, you have two years to apply to cancel (annul) this decision. If the AVO is annulled, the AVO will no longer apply and you will have to go to court again for another mention and possibly a hearing if the protected person still wants the AVO. For more information about annulment see After court

You agree (consent) to a Final AVO with or without admissions

You can agree to a Final AVO being made without admitting that you did anything wrong and without agreeing to the grounds for the application. This is called 'consenting without admissions'. The fact that you do not admit to doing anything wrong will not affect the orders that are made. It will also not make any difference to the impact an AVO will have on you.

For more information, see Consequences of an Apprehended Violence Order.

Hint iconYou can ask the applicant whether they will accept 'undertakings' instead of the court making a Final AVO. Undertakings are a promise from you to the court that you will not do certain things, for example physically hurt, intimidate or stalk the protected person. It is not a crime to breach an undertaking but the court expects that you will keep your promise. For more information about undertakings see Mention.

The applicant is successful at a hearing

If you do not agree to the AVO, the case will be listed for hearing. The applicant will be successful at a hearing if the magistrate decides on the 'balance of probabilities' (meaning that something is more likely than not to be true), that the protected person reasonably fears:

  • you will try to physically hurt them
  • you will try to do things to annoy or upset them
  • you will try to intimidate them
  • you will stalk them.

The duration of the AVO

A Final AVO lasts for a set period of time. At the time the AVO is made, the magistrate will tell you how long the AVO will last for. It will also be written on the Final AVO. In some cases the Final AVO will only last for six months but an AVO can be made for as long as five years, or even longer. The length of time the Final AVO lasts depends on:

  • the length of time the applicant or protected person asked for the AVO to last in the application
  • the seriousness of the threat
  • the protected person's fears
  • past incidents.

If the magistrate doesn't specify a period of time, the Final AVO will remain in force for 12 months after the order was made.

If the Final AVO is about to expire and the protected person still fears you, they or the police can make an application to the court for an extension of the Final AVO. If things have changed between you and the protected person, or the protected person no longer fears you, you could:

  • apply to the court to cancel (revoke) the orders in the Final AVO
  • apply to the court to change (vary) the orders in the Final AVO
  • allow the AVO to expire.

For more information, see Extensions, revocations and variations.

Consequences of breaching the AVO

You should get a copy of the Final AVO from the court registry or it may be posted to you. You should keep a copy of the Final AVO.

If you breach the AVO the police have the power to arrest and charge you with the criminal offence of contravening the AVO (breaching the AVO). You could also be charged with other criminal offences, such as assault or malicious damage. This will mean that you will have to go to court to answer the criminal charges.

If the court convicts you of breaching an AVO, you can be fined up to $5,500 and/or imprisoned for up to two years. If the breach involves violence, it is considered a serious offence and there is a strong chance you will be sent to prison.

Any conviction will appear on your criminal record.

For more information, see Consequences of Breaching an Apprehended Violence Order