Apprehended Violence Orders to protect children​

    Applyin​​g for a​​n AVO

    A child under 16 cannot apply by themselves to the Local Court for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO). The police can make an application for a child under 16.

    A child who is 16 years or over can apply for an AVO through the Local Court or through the police.

    If an AVO lists both adults (for example, a parent) and a child or children, from 3 December 2016 the adults can apply to either the Local Court or ask the police to apply for an order.

    From 3 December 2016 the Children's Court in care proceedings can make an AVO to protect children. 

    Alert IconIf you need protection you should call the police.

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

    Going to court for an AVO

    If the police apply for an AVO to protect a child under 16, they will represent the child at court. Usually, cases involving children are dealt with in a closed court. This means that members of the public are not allowed in the courtroom.

    In most cases, protected persons who are children under 16 will not need to give evidence about the case unless the court believes it is necessary.

    If you have any concerns about going to court or giving evidence, you should speak to the police prosecutor or Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO).

    If the defendant is under 18, an application for an AVO will be heard in the Children's Court instead of the Local Court.

    Withdrawing an AVO

    Only the person who made the application can ask the court for permission to withdraw it.  If the police applied for the AVO, only the police can ask to withdraw an AVO..

    Varying or revoking an AVO

    An application can be made to vary or revoke a police issued Provisional, Interim or Final AVO. 

    If the protected person is under 16 years old, an interested party can apply to vary or revoke the AVO with the leave (permission) of the court.

    If the protected person has turned 16 years old, an interested party can then apply to vary or revoke the AVO.

    For more information, see Extensions, revocations and variations.

    Children listed as protected persons on AVOs

    If an application for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is made to protect a person and they have children who are under 16 years old, the children must also be listed on the AVO as protected persons. The children's names may be removed from the AVO if the magistrate deciding the case finds that there are good reasons for doing so.

    Alert IconChildren may give evidence in AVO cases, however courts try to avoid this unless it is in the interests of justice. When a child gives evidence the court may be closed and everyone not involved in the case will have to leave the courtroom. A child may also be able to give evidence from a recording or using closed-circuit television.

    Usually, after someone gives evidence they may be cross examined by the other side. Cross examination​​​ is when the other side can ask their questions. From 3 December 2016, in AVO cases, the defendant is not allowed to cross examine a child themselves. Cross examination can only be done by someone else like a lawyer for the defendant. 

    You should get legal advice if:

    • you are under 16 years old and are asked to give evidence, or
    • your child is under 16 years old and they are asked to give evidence, or
    • you want a child who is under 16 years old to give evidence. ​

    Alert iconIf the defendant is a parent or family member of a child protected by an AVO, you should think about how family law might affect the AVO. For more information, see Apprehended Violence Orders and Family Law.