A defendant breaches an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) when he or she knowingly does something that the AVO says they are not allowed to do.
If the defendant breaches the AVO, you should report the breach to the police as soon as possible. The police have the power to arrest the defendant and charge them with the criminal offence of contravening the AVO (breaching the AVO). The police may also charge the defendant with other criminal offences, such as assault or malicious damage. This will mean that the defendant will have to go to court to answer the criminal charges.
It may help to write down any breaches in a diary so that you have a record of the times and places that events took place.
The defendant cannot be charged with breaching an AVO if they were not served with the Provisional, Interim or Final AVO (unless they were in court when the order was made). This means that a defendant can't breach the AVO if they don't know it has been made.
From 25 November 2017 all Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) are automatically nationally recognised and enforceable. This means that NSW Police can enforce DVOs made in other Australian states and territories. Other states and territories can also enforce NSW ADVOs.
From 25 November 2017 a registered foreign order will automatically be recognised in other states and territories.
If a defendant breaches a DVO, NSW Police will check the following:
that there is a nationally recognised DVO
that the DVO is current
the conditions that relate to the report of the breach
that either one or both parties was in NSW at the time of the alleged breach.
If the defendant is not in NSW when the order was breached, NSW Police may refer the incident to the jurisdiction where the defendant was located at the time of the breach for further investigation.
If the defendant has breached an AVO, he or she may be arrested and charged with contravening the AVO. The police will give the defendant a Court Attendance Notice and he or she will have to go to court.
Breaching an AVO is a criminal offence. If the court convicts the defendant they can be fined up to $5,500 and/or imprisoned for up to two years.
If the defendant commits a serious breach or there are other criminal charges the defendant may be put on bail, or bail may be refused and they may be kept in custody.
Any conviction will appear on the defendant's criminal record.
A defendant could breach an AVO even when they have no intention of doing so, for example, if the defendant enters a building without knowing you are there. If you are not sure whether the defendant is breaching an AVO you should call the police.
If the defendant does something that the AVO says they can't do, the police may decide to charge the defendant with contravening an AVO. However, a defendant can't be found guilty of contravening an AVO unless they knowingly did something that an AVO says they are not allowed to do.
If an AVO has been made and you get back together with the defendant or make contact with them, they may still be breaching the AVO. If your circumstances have changed and you no longer need the AVO, you can make an application to vary the AVO. If there are children under the age of 16 years named on the AVO, only the police can make an application to vary an AVO. For further information, see
Extensions, revocation and variations.
Case study - Daniel and Lino and breach of an AVO
Lino has an ADVO against Daniel for two years. The ADVO says that Daniel must not:1.a. Assault, molest, harass, threaten or otherwise interfere with the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship,b. Engage in any other conduct that intimidates the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship,c. Stalk the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.4. Go within 200 metres of the premises where the protected person may from time to time reside or work, or other specified premises.
Over the last month, Lino has noticed Daniel standing across the road, watching his house. Last night, Lino thought he saw Daniel in his front yard and he called the police.
The police found Daniel hiding in Lino's neighbour's yard.
In this case, the police can arrest Daniel for breaching conditions 1 and 4 of the ADVO. The police may charge Daniel with a criminal offence, and he will have to go to court. If Daniel is convicted of the offence he can be fined or imprisoned or both.