Once the application for an
Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) has been made, your case will be listed for mention.
The mention is the first date an application for an AVO is heard in court.
The Court will want to know:
- if the applicant still wants an AVO
- how the defendant wants to respond to the application.
Depending on what you and the applicant want to do, your case may be finalised on the day or it may be adjourned (postponed) to another day.
Who is going to represent you
If the police applied for the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you will be represented by the police prosecutor. You should speak to the police prosecutor before the mention and find out when and where you need to be at court.
If you made the application yourself at the Local Court, you will either need to:
- get a private lawyer, or
- represent yourself.
There are organisations that can help arrange information, support or, in some cases, representation. For more information, see
Getting more help.
You can arrange for a private lawyer to represent you. For help finding a private lawyer, see Solicitor referral service on the Law Society of NSW website.
If you are going to represent yourself, you should get
If you are representing yourself and you don't attend the mention, your application may be dismissed.
If you are a woman experiencing domestic violence, you may be able to get support or representation from a Women's Domestic Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS). WDVCAS is available in most courts.
You may also be able to get assistance from a specialist police officer called a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) who can help you while you are at court. The DVLO can give you information about the 'safe room'. The safe room is a special room for women and their children who are worried about going to court and seeing the defendant. You can stay in this room until you have to go into the courtroom.
You can watch a video below about going to court for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) and getting support at court.
You can also read a
transcript of this video
This video is available with the
Support is also available for people experiencing domestic violence in same-sex or LGBTIQ relationships. The Safe Relationships Project
provides support, advocacy, referrals and information.
For more information, go to the
Safe Relationships Project on the Inner City Legal Centre website.
If you are the protected person and you are under 16 years of age, see
Apprehended Violence Orders to protect children. If the defendant is under 18 years of age, see
Apprehended Violence Orders against children.
What to take to the mention
You should take the following to the mention:
- a copy of the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) application or Provisional AVO, if you have one
- any written statement you have prepared
- any witness statements you have collected as they may be needed if you want an Interim AVO
- any witnesses who can give evidence if you want an Interim AVO.
It is an offence to make false and misleading statements to a registrar or magistrate in an application for an APVO. It is also an offence to make false or misleading statements 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
What might happen at the mention
Waiting your turn
Get to court half an hour earlier, to find out what courtroom your case will be heard in. If you think you are going to be late, you should ring the court registry and let them know.
There are often many cases listed on the same day and you have to wait until your name is called. You should:
- sit in the courtroom, outside the courtroom or in the safe room - stay close enough to the courtroom to hear the court officer call your name or tell the court officer where you are going.
- stay in the courthouse - if you leave, or are not there when you are called, your case may be decided without you.
It is possible that you could be at court for a few hours, so you should make arrangements with your work or childcare, if necessary.
Remember to turn off your mobile phone before going into the courtroom.
When your case is called
The Court will want to know:
- if you (or the police if it is a police application) still want the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)
- how the defendant wants to respond to the application
- if you and the defendant attempted mediation recently, if it is an application for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO).
You may want to:
- ask for an Interim order
- ask for additional or alternative orders
- ask to get your property back
withdraw your application
Ask for an Interim Apprehended Violence Order
An Interim AVO is a temporary AVO that stays in place until:
- the Court makes a Final AVO
- the police withdraw the AVO application, or
- the Court dismisses the case.
A court can make an Interim AVO at a mention if they think it is necessary. For more information, see
Provisional and Interim Apprehended Violence Orders.
Ask for additional or alternative orders
You may ask the Court to make additional or alternative orders that are different to the orders in the application, and that increase or vary the restrictions that the AVO place on the defendant.
If you ask for additional or alternative orders when the defendant isn’t at court, you must file an amended application for an AVO and serve the defendant with a copy.
Ask to get your property back
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 go with you so that you do not have to go there alone.
For more information, see Recovering personal property.
Withdraw your application
If you don't want the AVO because you don't fear the defendant anymore, you can ask the Court for leave (permission) to withdraw your application.
If you made a private application for an AVO you may be asked why you want to withdraw the application. The Court may order that you pay the costs of the defendant. The Court can only award costs against you if your application was 'frivolous or vexatious'.
For more information, see
Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases.
If the police made the application on your behalf, you should talk about withdrawing the application with the police prosecutor or Domestic Violence Liaison Officer. The prosecutor may:
- agree and apply to the Court to withdraw the application
- ask for an adjournment to allow you time to make representations (write to the police) and explain why you want the AVO withdrawn
- continue with the application
If the police made the application and children are involved it may not be possible to withdraw the application.
If you are being pressured to withdraw the application for an AVO, you should get
How the defendant might respond
The defendant may:
- ask for an adjournment
- ask for the case to be moved to another court
- ask to go to mediation
- offer to give an undertaking (formal promise) to the Court
- consent (agree) to the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)
- consent (agree) to the AVO with admissions
- make a cross application
- oppose the application
- ask to get their property back
- do nothing.
Ask for an adjournment
The defendant may ask to adjourn the case so that they can get legal advice. The Court will usually adjourn the case for a week or two if this is the first mention, or the defendant has a good reason why they have not already had legal advice.
Ask for the case to be moved to another court
If the Court is far from where the defendant lives, or is difficult for them to get to, they can ask for the case to be moved to a different court in NSW.
Ask to go to mediation
If you applied for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) the Court must refer the matter to mediation unless there is a good reason not to. If this happens, your case will be adjourned to a future date. At the mediation you, the defendant and a mediator will discuss the issues. Any decision to resolve the dispute reached by the parties at mediation can be made into an enforceable agreement if both parties agree to this.
The cost of mediation will be covered by the Court.
For more information, see
Offer to give an undertaking (formal promise) to the Court
The defendant may offer to give an undertaking instead of agreeing to an AVO. An undertaking is a formal promise made by the defendant to the Court that they will not do the things listed in the AVO.
An undertaking is not legally enforceable. If the defendant breaches the undertaking they won’t be charged with a criminal offence, unless the breach involves a criminal offence, for example assault or malicious damage.
The police often don't accept undertakings, particularly if it is an application for an ADVO, as police have a duty to act in domestic violence matters.
If you accept the defendant’s offer to give an undertaking, and the defendant breaches the undertaking, you can make another application for an AVO.
Before you accept any undertakings, you should get legal advice.
Consent (agree) to the Apprehended Violence Order without admissions
A defendant may consent (agree) to an AVO being made, without admissions. If they 'consent without admissions', this means that they consent to the orders being made but do not admit any of the things you say happened in your application.
The defendant may try to negotiate with you or the police, and may only consent to an AVO if you change the orders you are asking for. The Court cannot change the mandatory orders (standard orders), but can decide which additional orders need to be made.
For more information, see
Mandatory and additional orders.
The AVO will come into effect immediately.
You should make sure you get a copy. You can get a copy from the court registry or it may be posted to you.
For more information, see
Consent (agree) to the AVO with admissions
A defendant may consent (agree) to an AVO being made, with admissions.
Agreeing with admissions means that the defendant voluntarily confesses or admits to the truth of the facts in the AVO application.
Make a cross application
The defendant may want to make a cross application against you.
The Court will treat the application like a normal application for an AVO.
Oppose the application
If the defendant doesn't consent (not agree) to the AVO, the Court may:
- make directions (orders for you and the defendant to exchange written statements
- set a date for a further mention - to check that all the statements have been filed.
If the defendant has been charged with a criminal offence, the Court may also make orders for the police to provide the defendant with a brief of evidence.
At the next mention, the Court will check that all the statements have been filed.
If you don't follow the orders, and you don't go to court on the next mention date, your application may be dismissed.
If the defendant doesn't follow the orders, and doesn't go to court on the next mention, an AVO may be made.
If both parties have followed the orders and filed their statements, the Court will give you a hearing date.
For more information, including instructions on how to prepare your statement and to see a sample statement, see
Written statements and evidence.
If the Court has made an order about filing and serving witness statements, and you are not sure what to do, you should get
Some courts may make orders that the parties serve and file other written documents, such as, statements of agreed facts and issues. If you are asked to prepare other documents, you should get
Ask to get their property back
If the defendant has left some of their belongings at your house, they may ask the Court for a Property Recovery Order.
If the defendant has a Property Recovery Order, you must allow them to collect their belongings. If an AVO is made against the defendant, they are not breaching the AVO by collecting their belongings in accordance with the Property Recovery Order.
For more information, see Recovering Personal Property.
The defendant may choose not to go to the mention.
If there is evidence the application was served on (given to) the defendant, the Court may:
- make a AVO against the defendant in their absence
- issue a warrant for the police to arrest the defendant and bring them to court.
The Court can issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest even if they haven’t been charged with a crime.
If there is no evidence the application was served, the Court may:
- adjourn the case so that the defendant can be served with the application
- dismiss the application.
If the defendant wasn’t served with the application, they don’t have to go to court.