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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > AVOs > Defending an AVO > Responding to an application for an AVO

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How to respond to an application for an Apprehended Violence Order

When you are served with (given) an application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), the application will tell you the date that you have to go to court, the time you have to be at court and which court you have to go to.

Before you go to court, you must decide how you want to respond to the application. 

    Ask for an adjournment

    If you haven't had a chance get legal advice before your court date, you can ask the Court to adjourn your case to give you some more time to see a lawyer. 

    To do this, you can:

    • write a letter to the Court, or
    • ask for more time at the mention.

    The Court will usually adjourn a case for one or two weeks if it's the first time a party has asked for an adjournment. The next time that you go to court you will have to tell the Court whether you consent to the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).

    Alert IconIf you don't know what you should do about the AVO, you should get legal advice

    Ask for the case to be moved to another court

    If you are served with an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) and it tells you to go to a court that is far from where you live, or is difficult for you to get to, you can ask for your case to be moved to a different court in NSW. 

    To do this, you can:

    • write to the Court before the mention
    • ask for a change of venue at the mention. 

    If you are going to write to the Court, you must do this before the mention. The Court will notify you of its decision. You should contact the Court if you haven't received a response before the mention.

    You can't have your case transferred to a court in a different state or territory because each state and territory has its own laws about AVOs. 

    Alert IconIf you want to have your case moved to another court, you should get legal advice.

    Go to mediation

    If your case involved an application for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO), the Court must refer your case for mediation unless there is a good reason not to. If this happens, your case will be adjourned. 

    At the mediation, you will have to discuss your case with the protected person and the mediator. 

    If you reach an agreement with the protected person at court, you can have this made into an enforceable agreement. 

    The cost of mediation will be covered by the Court. 

    Give an undertaking (formal promise) to the Court

    You can offer to give an undertaking to the Court, instead of agreeing to an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).  

    An undertaking is a formal promise not to do certain things. It is not legally enforceable because it is not a court order. It is not an offence to breach an undertaking. 

    You can only give an undertaking if the applicant agrees to it. 

    If the police applied for the AVO, they often won’t accept an undertaking instead of an AVO, especially if the application is for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO). 

    If the applicant agrees to you giving an undertaking, they will withdraw the application and your case will be finished.  The undertaking will be kept on the court file. 

    Consent (agree) to the Apprehended Violence Order  without admissions 

    You can consent (agree) to the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) without admissions. This means you agree to an AVO being made against you, but you are not admitting to any of the allegations in the application. 

    The Court can make an AVO without deciding whether the facts in the application are true, and whether the applicant fears you. 

    If you consent without admissions, an AVO will be made right away. 

    You will avoid the cost, time, and stress of a hearing.

    It is important that you understand all of the orders that are going to be included in the AVO before you consent to an AVO being made against you. 

    If you agree to an AVO that stops you from contacting your child or their parent, you may not be able to spend time with your child. 

    For more information, see Apprehended Violence Orders and Family Law.  

    It is important that you understand the consequences of an AVO being made against you because this may affect your job or where you live. 

    For more information, see Consequences of an Apprehended Violence Order

    If you don’t agree with all of the orders the applicant is asking for, you can try to negotiate with them. 

    For more information, see Mandatory and additional orders

    Consent (agree) to the Apprehended Violence Order  with admissions 

    You can consent (agree) to an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) being made against you with admissions.

    Agreeing with admissions means that you voluntarily confess or admit to the truth of the facts in the AVO application. If you admit to a fact in the AVO application, the Court will consider that fact proven. 

    It is important that you understand all of the orders that are going to be included in the AVO before you consent to an AVO being made against you. 

    If you agree to an AVO that stops you from contacting your child or their parent, you may not be able to spend time with your child. 

    For more information, see Apprehended Violence Orders and Family Law.  

    It is important that you understand the consequences of an AVO being made against you because this may affect your job or where you live. 

    For more information, see Consequences of an Apprehended Violence Order

    Alert IconBefore you agree to an AVO with admissions, you should get legal advice. 

    Make a cross application

    If you have been served with an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) but you also fear the protected person, you may want to make a cross application against the protected person.

    The Court should treat your application like a normal application for an AVO.

    For more information, see Cross applications.

    Oppose the application

    If you don’t agree to the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) being made against you, you can ask for a hearing and argue against 

    You won’t get to tell your side of the story until the hearing. 

    If you oppose the application, the Court may:

    • make directions (orders) for you and the applicant to exchange written statements
    • set a date for a further mention – to check that all the statements have been filed. 

    If you have been charged with a criminal offence, the Court may also make some orders for the police to provide you with a brief of evidence. 

    Family Law and Apprehended Violence Orders 

    If you have a Family Law case, opposing the application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) may affect your case. 

    A transcript of the hearing may be used as evidence in your family law matter. 

    If an AVO is made against you at the hearing, a Family Court will usually regard this as more serious than if you had consented without admissions to an AVO at the mention.

    This is because, at the hearing, the Court has decided that the facts in the application have been proven. If the Court makes an AVO by consent, without admissions, it has not decided that the facts in the application are true. 

    If you oppose the application, it is unlikely that you will be able to get an order for the applicant to pay your legal fees. 

    For more information, see Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases

    Alert IconBefore opposing the application, you should get legal advice. 

    Ask to get your property back

    If you left your property at the protected person’s home, you can ask the Court to make a Property Recovery Order. 

    If you have a Property Recovery Order, the protected person must let you enter their home to remove your property. The Court can order that the police or another person can go with you to collect your belongings, so that you don’t have to go to the protected persons home alone.  

    For more information, see Recovering Personal Property

    Do nothing

    You were served properly with an application for an Apprehended Violence order

    If you were served with an application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) and you do nothing the Court may:

    • make an AVO against you, or
    • issue a warrant for your arrent.  

    If the Court makes an AVO against you, it can include orders about contact between you and your children. The Court can make these orders even if the applicant doesn't ask for them. 

    The Court must issue a warrant for your arrest if the personal safety of the protected person will be put at risk if you are not arrested and brought to court. The Court can issue a warrant for your arrest even if you haven't been charged with a crime. 

    Alert Icon Before you decide to do nothing, you should get legal advice. 

    Alert IconIf the Court makes an AVO against you when you are not at court, you can apply to have it annulled (cancelled) within 2 years of the date of the order being made. 

    For more information about getting an AVO annulled, see After court. ​

    You weren’t served with the application for an Apprehended Violence Order 

    If you weren’t served with the application for an AVO, you don’t need to go to the mention. 

    The Court can’t make an AVO against you if you weren’t served with the application. 

    If you don’t go to the mention, the Court may:

    • adjourn (postpone) the case so that you can be served properly, or
    • dismiss the application. 

    Police detention 

    The police can detain you while they apply for and/or serve you with a copy of an AVO. 

    For more information, see Service of documents

    Video

    You can watch a video below about what your options are when someone applies for an AVO against you. 

    You can also read a transcript of this video (42 kb). 

    This video is available with the audio description​.