Apprehended Violence Orders to protect children
There are different rules to apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) to protect a child.
If you have immediate concerns for your safety, you should call the police
Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order
A child under 16 cannot apply by themselves to the Local Court for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO). The police can make an application for a child under 16.
A child who is 16 years or over can apply for an AVO through the Local Court or through the police.
If an AVO lists both adults (for example, a parent) and a child or children, from 3 December 2016 the adults can apply to either the Local Court or ask the police to apply for an order.
Mandatory police applications
The police must apply for an AVO to protect a child if they have recently, are currently, or will likely be the victim of an offence that results in:
- physical injury or sexual abuse
- emotional or psychological harm that significantly damages their emotional or intellectual development
- harm to their physical development.
If you need immediate protection, you should call the police.
For more information, see
Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order.
Going to court
If the police apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) to protect a child under 16, they will represent the child at court. Usually, cases involving children are dealt with in a closed court. This means that members of the public are not allowed in the courtroom.
In most cases, protected persons who are children under 16 will not need to give evidence about the case unless the Court believes it is necessary.
If a child has to give evidence, they may be able to have their parents or other support person in the courtroom. The Court must be closed while they are giving evidence and everyone not involved in the case will have to leave the courtroom.
The child may be able to give evidence:
- from a recorded interview with police, or
- via audio visual link (AVL).
The defendant is not allowed to cross examine a child themselves. Cross examination can only be done by the defendant’s lawyer.
If you have any concerns about going to court or giving evidence, you should speak to the police prosecutor or Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO).
If the defendant is under 18, an application for an AVO will be heard in the Children's Court instead of the Local Court.
The name or other identifying information of a child involved in an AVO case can't be published.
Withdrawing an application for an Apprehended Violence Order
Only the person who made the application can ask the court for permission to withdraw it.
If the police applied for the Apprehended Violence Order, 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 a Provisional, Interim or Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).
If the protected person is under 16 years old, an interested party can apply to vary or revoke the AVO with the leave (permission) of the court.
If the protected person has turned 16 years old, an interested party can then apply to vary or revoke the AVO.
For more information, see Varying (changing) or revoking (cancelling) an Apprehended Violence Order.
Children listed as protected persons on Apprehended Violence Orders
If a Court makes an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) to protect an adult, the Court must include as protected persons in the order any child that the adult has a domestic relationship with, unless there are good reasons for not doing so.
The Court can make an ADVO in these circumstances even though the police didn't make the application.
The children's names may be removed from the AVO if the Court finds that there are good reasons for doing so.
If the defendant is a parent or family member of a child protected by an AVO, you should think about how family law might affect the AVO. For more information, see Apprehended Violence Orders and Family Law.
The Children’s Court can make an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) in care proceedings to protect the child involved in the proceedings, and any relative who lives with the child.
The Court can make an AVO:
- on its own, or
- after one of the parties applies for an AVO.
The Children’s Court can also vary (change) or revoke (cancel) an AVO. The Court cannot vary or revoke an AVO if the defendant is involved criminal proceedings that relate to the circumstances that lead the court make an AVO.
The police and the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) must be notified before the Court varies or revokes an AVO in a care matter.