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Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order

After an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is made, it can be varied (changed) or revoked (cancelled). 

An AVO can be varied (changed) to: 

  • extend the duration of the AVO
  • reduce the duration of the AVO
  • add orders
  • delete orders
  • amend (change) orders. 

Before applying or responding to an application, there are many things you need to consider.

    ​Who can apply to vary or revoke an Apprehended Violence Order

    An application to vary (change) or revoke (cancel) an Interim or Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) can be made by:

    • the police
    • each protected person
    • a guardian of a protected person
    • the defendant.

    Protected person is a child

    If the application involves a protected person who is under 16 years of age an application can be made by:

    • a parent of the child
    • the Department of Communities & Justice (DCJ)
    • the police.

    If the police applied for the AVO, an interested party needs the leave (permission) of the Court to apply to vary or revoke the order if the protected person (or one of the protected persons) on the order is a child.

    Indefinite Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders 

    The defendant needs the leave (permission) of the Court to apply to vary or revoke an indefinite AVO. 

    Which court can I apply to?

    Apprehended Personal Violence Orders 

    If you want to vary or revoke an Interim or Final Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO), you can file the application in any Local Court in NSW. The application doesn't need to be filed with the same court that made the order. 

    Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders made before 25 November 2017

    If you want to vary or revoke an Interim or Final Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) made before 25 November 2017, you can file the application in any Local Court in NSW.

    If the protected person chooses to have the order nationally recognised they will need to apply to the Local Court to have the order declared.

    If the order is declared and you want to vary or revoke it, you can file an application in any Local Court in any state or territory.

    Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders made after 25 November 2017

    If you want to vary or revoke an Interim or Final ADVO made on or after 25 November 2017, you can file an application in any Local Court in any state or territory.

    If you want to apply to the Local Court to vary or revoke an ADVO, the Court will need to consider:

    • where you and the protected person normally live
    • any difficulty the protected person may have in attending court
    • if there is sufficient information about the original ADVO
    • whether the case is currently being heard in court for a breach of the ADVO
    • the practicality of the applicant applying for and obtaining a local  Domestic Violence Order (DVO) against you
    • the impact on the children who are listed as protected persons under the ADVO
    • any other relevant matters.

    AlertIf possible an application to vary or revoke should be made in the state or territory that made the original order as they will hold the most information. 

    AlertBefore you apply to vary or revoke an interstate DVO, you should get legal advice.

    Application form

    To apply to vary or revoke an AVO, you will need to complete an ‘Application to Vary or Revoke Apprehended Violence Order’ form. The form is not available online. You will need to visit your Local Court and ask the registry staff to help you fill out and file the form. 

    The registry staff will give you a date to come back to court for mention when the Court will consider the application.

    Change of circumstances

    A court can refuse to hear an application to vary or revoke an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) if:

    • there has not been a change of circumstances since the order was made, and
    • the person who made the application is trying to appeal the AVO. 

    Indefinite Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders 

    A court can only grant leave (permission) to a defendant to apply to vary or change an indefinite Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the ADVO was made. 

    Applying to extend or reduce an Apprehended Violence Order

    A Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) will be made for:

    • the period of time specified by the Court, or
    • the default period.

    The default period for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) is 12 months.

    The default period for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) made:

    • before 28 March 2020 is 12 months
    • after 28 March 2020 is two years.

    An ADVO made after 28 March 2020 can be made for an indefinite period of time. 

    Reducing the duration of an Apprehended Violence Order

    If you believe that the protected person no longer needs the AVO because of a change in circumstances, you can apply to the Court to reduce the length of the AVO.

    If the protected person or applicant objects to the application you and the protected person or applicant may be ordered to prepare written statements explaining why the AVO should or shouldn't be reduced. The application will then be listed for a hearing where you, the protected person or applicant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    For the application to be successful, you will need to show that there has been a change in circumstances that require the change. For example, you may have moved interstate and no longer pose any threat to the protected person.

    Sample: Application to Vary (reduce) an Apprehended Violence Order (18.087 kb) or text only version

    Alert IconBefore applying to reduce the AVO, you should get legal advice. The Court may decide that you are still a threat to the protected person, even though you have moved interstate or a long distance from the protected person.

    Extending the duration of an Apprehended Violence Order

    If the AVO is about to expire, the protected person or the applicant may apply to extend the length of an AVO. If the protected person or applicant make an application, you will be notified.

    An application to extend an AVO can be made up until the last day that it is in force. 

    If an application to extend an AVO is made, the AVO will stay in force until you go to court. 

    If an application is made the day before the AVO expires, the AVO still stay in force for 21 days, unless another order is made or it is revoked. 

    If you want to object to the application you and the protected person or applicant may be ordered to prepare written statements explaining why the AVO should or shouldn't be extended. The application will then be listed for a hearing where you, the protected person or applicant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    Alert IconIf you are concerned about the application to extend an AVO, you should get legal advice.

    Applying to revoke an Apprehended Violence Order

    If you or the protected person want the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) revoked (cancelled) you can make an application to the Court.

    You may want the AVO revoked because:

    • there is a change in circumstances and you feel the AVO is not necessary
    • the AVO places restrictions on you.

    While an AVO does not give a person a criminal record, it does mean that you can't hold a firearms licence for 10 years. It also places restrictions on you working in the security industry. If you want to get a firearms licence or security licence you may want to ask the Court to revoke an AVO.

    You must apply to revoke an AVO while it is still in force. You can't apply to revoke an AVO after it has expired. 

    If the protected person or applicant objects to the application you and the protected person or applicant may be ordered to prepare written statements explaining why the AVO should or shouldn't be revoked. The application will then be listed for a hearing where you, the protected person or applicant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    Sample: Application to Revoke Apprehended Violence Order (100 kb) or text only version

    Applying to vary an Apprehended Violence Order

    When an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is made, the types of orders made will depend on the circumstances. Every AVO has mandatory orders (standard orders) that restrict you from doing certain things. The police or Court can also make additional orders which may restrict you from living with or contacting the protected person.

    For more information, see Mandatory and additional orders.

    If you want to vary the Apprehended Violence Order

    You can apply to vary (change) the original orders made, if you think:

    • that some of the original orders are no longer necessary, or
    • they place too many restrictions on you and you want one or more of the orders removed.

    If the protected person or applicant objects to the application, you and the protected person or applicant may be ordered to prepare written statements explaining why the AVO should or shouldn't be varied. The application will then be listed for a hearing where you, the protected person or applicant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    For the AVO to be varied, you need to show the Court that there has been a change in circumstances. For example, you and the protected person may have reconciled and want to start living together again, which might mean you need to have an order restricting contact removed from the AVO. It is possible to still have an AVO in place and live with the protected person, as long as the orders made in the AVO allow this.

    If the protected person wants to vary the Apprehended Violence Order

    The protected person and the applicant can also apply to vary the terms of an AVO. You will be notified if this happens.

    If you want to object to the application you and the protected person or applicant may be ordered to prepare written statements explaining why the AVO should or shouldn't be varied. The application will then be listed for a hearing where you, the protected person or applicant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    Alert Icon If you have been served with an application to vary an AVO, you should get legal advice

    Serious offences and variations of Apprehended Violence Orders

    The Court can vary an Interim or Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against you, regardless of whether an application to vary the AVO has been made, if you are guilty of a serious offence. 

    The Court can do this to provide greater protection to the protect person.  

    For more information about serious offences, see Charges and Apprehended Violence Orders.  

    Applying to vary or revoke a Provisional Apprehended Violence Order

    A Provisional Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an urgent AVO application which is applied for by the police.  The order can be made by a court or by a senior police officer.

    Only the police can apply to vary a Provisional AVO that was made by t​he Court.

    You can apply to vary a Provisional AVO made by a senior police officer.​

    If you apply to vary or revoke a Provisional AVO you must serve it on the Local Area Command (LAC) of the police who applied for the AVO. The contact details of the LAC will be on the Provisional AVO served on you by police.

    You can apply to the Court to vary or revoke the AVO before the court date listed on the Provisional AVO.

    AlertIf you apply to vary or revoke a police issued Provisional AVO, your application must be made at the same court where the AVO is listed (this will appear on the original paperwork the police p​rovided when they served you with the AVO).​

    Serving your application

    If you are applying to vary or revoke an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you must serve your application on each protected person. 

    If the police or the protected person are applying to vary or revoke your AVO, they must serve their application on you.

    An application to vary or revoke an AVO must be served personally. 

    This means it must be:

    • handed to you, or
    • put down in your presence and you must be told what you are being served with. 

    If the server can’t approach you because of violence or threatened violence, the server can leave the application as close to you as possible while still staying safe.

    The Court can’t vary or revoke an AVO unless the application has been served properly.