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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 to: 

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

Alert IconIf you need help to apply to vary or revoke an AVO, you should get legal advice.

    Who can apply?

    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, you need the leave (permission) of the Court to apply.

    Indefinite Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders 

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

    If the defendant wants to vary or revoke an indefinite AVO, you should get legal advice.

    Provisional Apprehended Violence Orders

    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 applies to revoke or vary a Provisional AVO.

    The police may apply for a Provisional AVO to vary an existing Interim or Final AVO with the same defendant. This could happen when a new domestic violence incident occurs and the police decide to apply for a Provisional AVO with new orders.

    The Provisional AVO should not reduce the protection given to you under an existing Interim or Final AVO. If it reduces your protection or the conditions are inconsistent, you should get legal advice.

    How to apply 

    You must 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.

    If you want to vary or revoke an Interim AVO, you should file your application with the Court that is hearing your case.

    If you want to vary or revoke a Final AVO, you can apply at any Local Court in NSW. You don’t need to go back to the same court that made the AVO. Your application will generally be heard by the Court where you file the application.

    The registry staff will give you a date when the Court will consider your application. If you don’t  go to court on this date, your application may be dismissed.

    Interstate Domestic Violence Orders

    If you want to vary or revoke an interstate Domestic Violence Order (DVO), the Court will 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.

    If 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.

    Before 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.

    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 or it is otherwise in the interests of justice. 

    If the defendant wants to vary or revoke an indefinite AVO, you should get legal advice.

    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.

    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.

    If the defendant wants to reduce the duration of an indefinite AVO or an AVO made to continue after their release from gaol, you should get legal advice.

    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​  or text only version

    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.

    Revoke an Apprehended Violence Order

    You or the defendant can apply to have the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) revoked (cancelled). The AVO can only be revoked while it is still in force. It can't be revoked once it has expired.

    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.

    If the defendant applies to revoke the AVO 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 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.

    Vary an Apprehended Violence Order

    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 your application to 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.

    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 listed 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

    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.

    From 27 March 2021, when an ADVO is made against a defendant who is sentenced to full time gaol for a serious offence, the court can order that the ADVO remain in place for the time the defendant is in gaol and continue for 2 years after the gaol term is complete.

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

    Serving an application

    If you (or the police) apply to vary or revoke your Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), a copy of your application must be served on the defendant.

    If the defendant applies to vary or revoke the AVO, notice of this application must be served on the police (if police applied for the AVO) and each protected person.

    An application to vary or revoke an AVO must be served personally, unless the Court orders a different method of service. 

    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 the defendant because of violence or threatened violence, the server can leave the application as close to them as possible while staying safe.

    If you are the protected person, you do not have to serve your application yourself. The Police may serve the application for you. The police can also serve the application on the defendant, if the defendant is in prison.

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