​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 |

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​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 apply for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order for me. What can I do?

The police must apply 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 don't apply on your behalf, you can go to the Local Court and apply for an ADVO yourself.

For more information, see Step by step guide: Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order through the Local Court.

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 website.

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

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

The police made the decision to apply for the Apprehended Violence Order (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 Court may ask you some questions about the application and the reasons it was made.

If an AVO is made against your partner, you can apply to vary or revoke a Provisional, Interim or Final AVO.

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, a service that helps women in domestic violence situations.

For more information, see Getting more help.

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?

If your father fears that your sister's husband may cause him physical or mental harm, he can contact the police. The police can apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) on his behalf, or he can contact the Court and make a private application for an AVO.

If an AVO is made with the mandatory orders only, your father and your sister's husband can still live in the same house. 

If an AVO is madde with additional orders, your father and your sister's husband may not be allowed to live in the same house. 

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.

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?

You can apply for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).

An application for an ADVO can be made by:

  • the police
  • yourself.

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.

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

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 apply for an APVO yourself.

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
  • it is reasonable for you to have that fear.

If you are not sure if you need an APVO, you should get legal advice.

All 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.

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 apply yourself.

All 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 should also report these incidents to your supervisor or manager at work.

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

7. I want to take out an Apprehended Violence Order 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 Apprehended Violence Order?

You need to know the name of the person you need protection from and you need to know their address. You can't apply for, and the Court can't make an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against someone if you don't know their name and address. 

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

8. I have left my partner and am staying with a friend. A Provisional Apprehended Violence Order 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?

When you go to court you can ask the Court to make a Property Recovery Order, so that you can go to your home and 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.

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.

For more information, see Recovering personal property​.

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, my dog is sick afterwards. I'm worried that she is poisoning my 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 APVO, you may wish to try mediating your dispute with your neighbour at a Community Justice Centre (CJC). In APVO matters, the Court 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 you can apply for an APVO. If an APVO is made, it will include a mandatory order that prohibits your neighbour from damaging your property. This would include your dog. 

For more information, see Mandatory and additional orders.

Also, it is illegal for any person to commit acts of cruelty upon animals. 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 poisoning your dog, you should contact the police.

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

There are other ways that your 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.

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

Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) relate to violence and fear of violence. They don't 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, see the Noise topic. 

Going to court 

1. The police applied for an Apprehended Violence Order 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 Apprehended Violence Order (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 Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) tells you that you don't have to go. 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 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 workers in the safe room about your concerns before the mention.

For more information, see Mention.

2. I made a private application for an Apprehended Violence Order 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 Apprehended Violence Order (AVOO 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, see Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases.

For more information on the mention, see Mention.

3. I made a private application for an Apprehended Violence Order 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 Apprehended Violence Orders (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.​

4. The police made an application for an Apprehended Violence Order on my behalf against my father. At the mention my father did not consent to the Apprehended Violence Order. The Court 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.

If the police have served you with a subpoena to give evidence, you must go to court. A subpoena is a court order. If you don't follow the subpoena, the police may apply for a warrant to arrest you and you may be charged with contempt of court. If you are found guilty of this offence, you may be punished with a fine or up to 28 days in prison. 

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

5. I have made a private application for an Apprehended Violence Order 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 Court will want to know:

  • if you still want the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)
  • how your former friend wants to respond to your application.

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 doesn't consent (agree) to the AVO. The Court 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.

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 don't go to the hearing your application may be dismissed.

You can ask the Court to change the hearing date. You will need to complete an Application to Vacate a Hearing Date form. The form is available from:

  • the Local Court registry, or
  • the Forms page on the Local Court website. 

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

You need to file an Application to Vacate a Hearing Date together with any documents in support, for example, a 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 ask for the hearing to be adjourned (postponed), the Court may order you to pay the defendant's costs.

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

7. At the mention, the Court 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 Court. 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 Court at the next mention that the defendant has not followed the orders.

The Court may:

  • adjourn the matter to give the defendant more time 
  • make a Final Apprehended Violence Order, or
  • give you a hearing date and proceed without the defendant's witness statements.

For more information, see Mention.

8. At the mention, the Court 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 Court. 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 need help preparing your witness statement, you should get legal advice. 

After court 

1. The Court made an Apprehended Violence Order 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 Apprehended Violence Order is finished. What should I do?

If the Apprehended Violence Order (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 Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order.

Your ex-boyfriend's actions may be an offence, such as stalking or intimidation. He may also be breaching the 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.

2. I applied for an Apprehended Violence Order against my neighbour. The Court said that it 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 Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs). Mandatory orders are sometimes called 'standard orders' or 'Orders about behaviour.' 

They prohibit the defendant from doing any of the following things to you, or anyone that you have a domestic relationship with:

  • assault or threaten you
  • stalk, harass or intimidate you, 
  • intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage your property or property that is in your possession. 

For more information, see Mandatory and additional orders.

The Court's decision to make the mandatory orders for a period of 12 months means that the defendant must follow these orders for 12 months. 

If the defendant does anything to breach the AVO within the 12 months you should call the police. The defendant may be charged with the offence 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 Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order.

3. The police applied for an Apprehended Violence Order 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 Apprehended Violence Order?

If your husband contacts you directly when the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) says he can only contact you through your lawyer, he will be breaching the AVO. He may have also breached the mandatory orders in the AVO, for example, the order prohibiting harassment.

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.

4. I applied for an Apprehended Violence Order against my father. The Court made the mandatory orders and 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 Apprehended Violence Order. Can I get the Apprehended Violence Order changed so that we can live in the same house?

You can apply to vary (change) an AVO to include only the mandatory orders (standard orders or 'Orders about behaviour'). These orders don't stop you and your father from living in the same house. 

If the police made the original application, they can also apply to vary the AVO. 

For more information, see Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order.

5. My neighbours were threatening me and I applied for an Apprehended Violence Order against them. The Court made the Apprehended Violence Order 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 Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) 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 circumstances from when the original order was made.

For more information, see Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order.

6. I have an Apprehended Violence Order 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 an Interim Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), your neighbours' firearms licence is automatically suspended when the AVO is made. Your neighbour must surrender his firearms and licence to the police. If he doesn't, he can be charged with an offence. 

If there is an order in the AVO that prohibits your neighbour from possessing any firearms, he may be breaching AVO as well. 

The police can seize your neighbour's firearms if he doesn't surrender them. 

If you have a Final AVO, your neighbours' firearms licence is automatically cancelled when the AVO is made. He would have had to immediately surrender any firearms and his licence to the police. 

If you know that your neighbour 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.

7. Two months ago the Court made an Apprehended Violence Order 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?

If the Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) was made in NSW after 25 November 2017 it is recognised and enforceable in any Australian state or territory. You do not need to make a separate application to register the order.

If the ADVO was made before 25 November 2017 you can apply to the Local Court for the order to be declared and nationally recognised.  

For more information, see Interstate orders.

8. I have a Final Apprehended Violence Order against my husband. We were renting an apartment together and his name is on the lease. He claims that because he is a tenant can 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?

Your husband's tenancy will end automatically when a Final Apprehended Violence Order (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 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.

9. Can I apply to a NSW Local Court to vary a Domestic Violence Order made in Queensland?

If the order was made after 25 November 2017 it is automatically recognised nationally and you can apply to any NSW Local Court to vary the order. If the Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is varied in NSW, it will repleace the order made in Queensland. 

If possible, it is a good idea to apply in the state that made the original order as it that Court would have the most information.

If the order was made before 25 November 2017 it can be varied in NSW if you have applied to a Local Court in NSW to have it declared and nationally recognised.

For more information, see Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order.

For more Frequently Asked Questions, see: