Apprehended Violence Orders against children
Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) against children are dealt with differently than AVOs against adults.
If you are under 18 and have been served with an AVO you are entitled to free legal representation. Unless you already have your own lawyer, you should see the Legal Aid Duty Solicitor when you go to court. If you want to speak to a solicitor before court, contact the Legal Aid Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10.
This page has information about:
Responding to an application for an Apprehended Violence Order
If you have been served with an application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you can:
- ask for an adjournment to get legal advice
- agree to get counselling or treatment
- agree to mediation
- consent (agree) to an Interim AVO
- consent (agree) to a Final AVO
- oppose the application
- do nothing.
Going to court
If you are under 18, your case will be heard in the Children's Court.
You will be called the 'defendant'.
The general pubic is excluded from the Children's Court, and any other criminal proceedings involving a child.
If you are going to court for an AVO matter, you may be able to have your parents or other support person in the courtroom.
At the mention, the Court will ask you whether you want to have counselling or another kind of treatment to deal with the problems that led to the application being made against you.
The court may ask you to speak to a court support officer so they can decide whether you are suitable for counselling or another kind of treatment.
If agree to go to counselling or treatment, you must tell the Court the name of the service and the date of your appointment. This will be recorded on the Court file. Your case will be adjourned to allow you to go to counselling or treatment. If you agree, the court can make an interim AVO for 3 months, while you go to counselling or treatment.
If there is no counselling or treatment that you can go to, or you don’t agree to go to counselling or treatment, the court will ask you if you agree to an interim AVO being made against you for five months. If you agree, and you don’t breach the AVO, the police can withdraw the application. If this happens, the interim AVO will end and your matter will be finished.
If the police don’t withdraw their application after five months, the court will ask you whether you agree to a final AVO being made against you. If you agree, the court will make the AVO and you will have to follow the orders until it is finished.
If you don’t agree, the court make orders for a hearing.
Depending on what you want to do, the court may:
- refer you to counselling
- refer you to mediation
- adjourn (postpone) your case to a later date
- make an Interim AVO (temporary AVO) and adjourn (postpone) the case to a later date
- make a Final AVO
- set a date for a hearing
- give the applicant permission to withdraw the application.
If a Final AVO is made against you, it must be for a specific period of time set by the Court, for example two years. It cannot be for an indefinite period of time.
If an Interim or Final AVO is made against you after 28 March 2020, the order will be for:
- the period of time decided by the court, or
- one year, if the court doesn’t specify a length of time.
Your name or other identifying information cannot be published. The public won’t know about your case.
If you haven’t spoken to a lawyer before your court date, you should get to court early and speak to the Legal Aid duty solicitor before your case is called. You may be asked to wait, as the Duty Solicitor will have several other defendants to talk to. The Duty Solicitor may interview you before you go into court to gather more information about your case.
Withdrawing an application for an Apprehended Violence Order
Only the person who made the application can ask the court for permission to withdraw an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).
If the police applied for an AVO, only the police can ask to withdraw the application.
Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order
An application can be made to vary or revoke an Interim or Final Apprehended Violence Order by:
- the police, and
- the protected person.
If an application to vary or revoke has been made, the above rules will apply.
For more information, see Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order.
You can appeal to the District Court within 28 days if the the Court:
- makes an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against you when you are in Court
- varies the AVO
- refuses to vary the AVO
- refuses to revoke the AVO.
To do this, you will need to complete a ‘Notice of Appeal to the District Court’ and pay the fee. You can download a copy of this form from the Forms page on the Local Court website, or get a copy from the Local Court.
Appealing the Court’s decision to make an AVO doesn’t automatically stay (stop) the operation of the AVO. You can apply to the Court for an order to stay the AVO. The Court will only make an order if it will not affect the safety of the protected person or any other person.
Before filing an appeal you should get legal advice.
If the application is dismissed, the applicant may appeal the decision to the District Court within 28 days. You should be notified of any appeal.