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If the police won't apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you can make an application to the Local Court yourself.
If you have immediate concerns for your safety you should call the police.
Every Local Court works differently. Some courts may have a special Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) kit or a form you can fill out to apply for an AVO. At other courts you will need to make an appointment with the registrar to help you make your application. You should call or go to your nearest Local Court and find out what you need to do.
If you need immediate protection, or you are scared, you should contact the police. The police may apply and issue a Provisional AVO for you in cases involving domestic violence.
If the protected person is a person under the age of 16, only the police can apply for an AVO on their behalf. However, you can add your children to your own AVO. If the court makes an Interim or Final AVO to protect you, in most cases they must also make an order to protect any child under 16 who lives with you.
If you are applying for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) against someone like a neighbour, you may wish to go to mediation to discuss the problem and resolve the dispute. The court must refer all APVO applications to mediation unless there is a good reason not to. Such reasons could include:
Mediation can take place through a service such as the Community Justice Centre (CJC). For more information, see
Before you contact the Local Court about making an application for an AVO, you should consider your reasons for wanting an AVO carefully. If you make an application and you lose in court, you may be ordered to pay the defendant's costs. If you are applying for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO), you can only be ordered to pay costs if your application was frivolous or vexatious.
For more information about costs, see
Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases.
If the registrar thinks that you do not have grounds for an AVO, they may refuse your application. If you still want to go ahead, the registrar will help you to make an application to the magistrate. The magistrate may accept your application and your application will go ahead. The magistrate may also refuse the application. If your application is refused, you should get legal advice.
If you don't know whether you should make an application for an AVO, you should get
Whether you make your application by filling out a form yourself or registry staff at your local court help you, you will need to provide as much of the following information as you can:
If you are applying for an APVO, you will need to provide the following information:
It is an offence to make a false or misleading statement to a magistrate or registrar for the purposes of an APVO application. It is also an offence to make a false or misleading statement to the court hearing an AVO case or to the police for the purposes of any AVO application. If you think you may have given a false or misleading statement, you should get
It may help the court if you prepare a list in date order of the relevant events that have taken place and also provide the court with copies of any text messages, emails, letters or other messages or documents that have been sent to you by the defendant and have caused you to feel fear.
If you are applying for an ADVO, you should also supply the following information if the person you want to be protected from is, or has been, your intimate partner:
For more information about the orders you can get and what they mean, see
Mandatory and additional orders.
If you need an interpreter tell the court registry as soon as possible. The court will arrange an interpreter for you. Registry staff can use the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) when you are making the application and can order an interpreter for court for you. There is no fee for an interpreter in AVO matters.
You will then have to sign the application to show that the information provided to the court and the reasons you have given for your application are the truth.
Any information you give to the court should be true. If you give false information to the court the police can charge you. If you want to change the information that you have given to the court, you should get legal advice.
Once you have done this you will be given a copy to keep for your records.
If you have not been given a copy of your application, you can ask the court office, known as the 'registry' to provide you with a copy.
Sample: Application for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (311 kb) or
text only version
Sample: Application for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (27 kb) or
text only version
If a serious threat has been made to your safety and you need your application to be heard urgently, you should ask the registry staff that are helping you about applying for an Interim AVO. A magistrate will deal with the application (usually on the same day), and an Interim AVO may be made protecting you until the case is heard in court.
After you have signed the AVO application it must be served on (given to) the defendant.
AVO applications must be served by:
When your application is filed at the court registry you should ask them whether they will arrange for the police to serve the AVO or whether you need to take it to the police yourself.
Before going to court for the first mention, it is a good idea to call the police and confirm that your application has been served on the defendant. If the police have not served or will not serve your application, you should contact the court. The court can send a letter to the police for you asking them to serve your application, or nominate another person to serve your application for you, for example the sheriff.
The police officer or nominated person that serves the AVO must fill out a 'statement of service', and send it to the court. The statement of service states when and how the application was served, so that the court knows the defendant is aware of the application.
If there have been problems serving the application, you can apply to the court for 'substituted service'. Substituted service allows you to try other ways to bring the application to the defendant's attention, for example by sending documents by registered post. In police applications, the police will apply for substituted service if this is necessary.
The application will tell the defendant the date and time they must go to court. You will also need to go to court on this date. If you made the application you will need to represent yourself or get a lawyer.
In ADVO matters and some APVO matters, the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service can assist female applicants and, in some cases, female defendants, with applications and legal representation. For more information, see Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program on the Legal Aid NSW website.
If you have left your home because you fear the defendant and you would like to collect some of your belongings you can ask the court to make a Property Recovery Order. If you have a Property Recovery Order the defendant must let you enter the premises to remove your property. The court can also order that the police or another person may come with you so that you do not have to go home alone.
For more information, see
Going to court.