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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
    • every protected person
    • a guardian of a protected person
    • the defendant.

    Protected person is a child

    An application to vary or revoke an AVO with a protected person who is under 16 years of age can be made by:

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

    Alert IconIf 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 does not 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.

    You can choose have your order nationally recognised at any time to ensure you are protected in other states and territories. You will need toapply to the Local Court to have the order declared.

    If your 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 Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (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 revoke or vary an interstate DVO, the Court will need to consider:

    • where you and the defendant normally live
    • any difficulty the defendant may have in attending court
    • if there is sufficient information about the original DVO
    • whether the case is currently being heard in court for a breach under the DVO
    • the practicality of the applicant applying for and obtaining a local DVO against the defendant
    • the impact on the children who are listed as protected persons under the DVO
    • 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 contact the Domestic Violence Liaison Officer or your local Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service.

    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 magistrate 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
    • made after 28 March 2020 is two years.

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

    Extending the duration of an Apprehended Violence Order

    If the AVO is about to expire and you are worried that the defendant will assault, intimidate, harass or stalk you when the AVO ends, you can apply to the Court to extend the AVO.

    If you apply to extend the AVO, the AVO will stay in force until you go to court. 

    ​If the defendant objects to the application you and the defendant may be ordered to prepare w​ritten statements explaining why the AVO should or shouldn't be extended. The application will then be listed for a hearing where you, the defendant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    For the application to be successful, the Court must be satisfied that you nee​​d the extension. For example, the defendant may have moved into a property in the same street as you, sent you a recent threatening message, or breached the current AVO.

    Icon - sample/instructionsSample: Application to Vary (extend) an Apprehended Violence Order​ (18.087 kb) or text only version

    Urgent applications to extend the duration of an Apprehended Violence Order

    You can apply to extend an AVO for your protection up until the last day the AVO is in force. 

    If you apply to extend the AVO the day before it expires, the Court can make an order extending the AVO without notifying the defendant. 

    The Court can extend the AVO for up to 21 days before the application is heard, unless another order is made or it is revoked.

    Reducing the duration of an Apprehended Violence Order

    The defendant may apply to reduce the length of the AVO. If the defendant makes an application, you will be notified.

    If you want to object to the application you and the defendant 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 defendant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    Applying to revoke an Apprehended Violence Order

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

    An application to revoke an AVO will usually be made by a defendant because:

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

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

    The defendant may apply to revoke the AVO while it is still in force. It can't be revoked once it has expired. 

    If the defendant makes an application to revoke the AVO you will be notified of the application. 

    If you want to object to the application you and the defendant 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 defendant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    If the Court decides to revoke the AVO, the defendant will no longer be restricted from having a firearms licence.

    Alert IconIf you have been served with the defendant's application to revoke the AVO, you should get legal advice.

    Applying to vary an Apprehended Violence Order

    When the police or the Court makes an AVO, the types of orders that are made depend on the circumstances of the case. Every AVO has mandatory orders (standard orders) that restrict the defendant from doing certain things. The Court can also make additional orders which may restrict the defendant from living with you or contacting you.

    For more information, see Mandatory and additional orders.

    If you want to vary the Apprehended Violence Order

    You may want to vary (change) an Interim or Final AVO, because:

    • you think the original orders are not enough to protect you, or
    • you want one or more of the orders removed.

    ​​​If the defendant objects to the application, you and the defendant 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 defendant and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.

    For the application to vary the AVO to be successful, you need to show the Court that there has been some change in circumstances. For example, you and the defendant may have reconciled and want to continue living together, which might mean you need to have an order restricting contact removed from the AVO. It is still possible to have an AVO and live with the defendant, as long as the orders allow this.

    If the defendant wants to vary the Apprehended Violence Order

    The defendant can also apply to vary the terms of the AVO. If the defendant applies to vary the AVO you will be notified of the application.

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

    Alert IconIf you have been served with the defendant's application to vary the 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 the defendant, regardless of whether an application to vary the AVO has been made, if they plead guilty or are found guilty of a serious offence. 

    The Court can do this to provide you with greater protection from the defendant.  

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

    Applying to revoke or vary 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 where the AVO was made by the Court.

    A defendant can apply to vary a provisional AVO made by a senior police officer.

    The police will notify you if the defendant makes an application to revoke or vary a Provisional AVO.​

    Serving your application

    If you (or the police) are applying to vary or revoke your Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you must serve your application on the defendant.

    If the defendant is applying to vary or revoke the AVO, they must serve their application on each protected person. 

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

    This means it must be:

    • handed to the person, or
    • put down in their presence and they must be told what they are being served with. 

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

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