Consequences of breaching an Apprehended Violence Order
If an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) has been made against you, you must follow the orders in the AVO.
If you don't, you may breach the AVO and the police may charge you with an offence.
Breaching an Apprehended Violence Order
You will breach an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) if you knowingly do something that the AVO says you are not allowed to do.
If you breach an AVO by disobeying the orders, the police can arrest and charge you with:
- the criminal offence of contravening the AVO (breaching the AVO), and
- other criminal offences, for example, assault or malicious damage.
You can't be convicted of breaching an AVO if:
- you were not been served with the Provisional, Interim or Final AVO, and you were not in court when the order was made
- you went to mediation referred by the Court
- you were following a Property Recovery Order.
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 you breach a DVO, NSW Police will check that:
- there is a nationally recognised DVO
- the DVO is current
- the conditions that relate to the reported breach
- either one or both parties was in NSW at the time of the alleged breach.
If you were not in NSW when the order was breached, NSW Police may refer the incident to the jurisdiction where you were located at the time of the breach for further investigation.
Penalties for breaching an Apprehended Violence Order
If you breach an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) you may be arrested and charged with contravening the AVO. The police may give you a Court Attendance Notice and you will have to go to court.
If the Court convicts you of breaching an AVO, you can be fined $5,500 and/or imprisoned for up to two years.
If you breach an AVO by committing a crime, you can receive a separate sentence (punishment) for:
- breaching the AVO, and
- any crime(s) you are convicted of.
If the breach involves violence, it is considered a serious offence and there is a strong chance you will be sent to prison if you are convicted.
Any conviction will appear on your criminal record and in a Working With Children Check.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, you should get
For more information about facing a charge in court, see the
Driving offences and crime topic.
In certain circumstances you may find that you have accidentally breached your Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), for example, if you enter a building without knowing the protected person is inside.
If you accidentally breach your AVO, the police may decide to charge you with the offence of contravening (breaching) an AVO. However, you can't be found guilty of contravening an AVO unless you knowingly do something that an AVO says you are not allowed to do.
If you have been charged with breaching an AVO, you should get
Sometimes a protected person may call you or ask you to meet somewhere. If the AVO states that you are not to contact the protected person, you can still be charged with breaching the AVO even though the protected person starts the contact.
If the protected person wants you to do something that the AVO restricts you from doing, you should get
Case study - Lino and Daniel
Lino has an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (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 to answer the charges.
If Daniel doesn't plead guilty to the charge of breaching the AVO, at the hearing the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intentionally breached the AVO.
If Daniel is convicted of the offence he can be fined or imprisoned or both. The conviction will be included on his criminal record, and will appear in a criminal record check.