Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice. Find out more >
Once the application for an
Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) has been made, your case will be listed for mention (the first court date).
If the police applied for the 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 solicitor or represent yourself.
For referrals to private solicitors contact
There are organisations that can help arrange information, support or, in some cases, representation. For more information, see
Getting more help.
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 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.
You should take the following to the mention:
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
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.
It is possible that you could be at the 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 court room.
The magistrate or registrar will want to know:
You may want to:
Withdraw your application
An interim order is a temporary order. An Interim AVO stays in place until the court makes a Final AVO, the police withdraw the AVO application or the court dismisses the case.
A magistrate can make an interim order at a mention if they think it is necessary. For more information, see
Provisional, Interim and Final Apprehended Violence Orders.
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.
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 (DVLO). The prosecutor may:
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
The defendant may:
The defendant may ask to adjourn the case so that he or she has more time to 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.
The court may refer the matter to mediation.
The magistrate may adjourn the case if it is an application for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO). The magistrate must refer the matter to mediation unless there is a good reason not to. If mediation is appropriate then the 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.
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 magistrate 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.
If the court makes a Final AVO, it will be made for a specified period of time, for example, six months, 12 months or two years. Most AVOs are made for 12 months. This will be the end of the case unless the defendant appeals. 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
The defendant may suggest an undertaking instead of agreeing to an AVO. An undertaking is a formal promise made by the defendant to the court that he or she will not do the things listed in the AVO.
Undertakings are not legally enforceable and if a defendant breaches an undertaking it is not a criminal offence.
The police often do not accept undertakings, particularly if it is an application for an ADVO, as police have a duty to act in domestic violence matters.
Before you accept any undertakings, you should get
The defendant may not attend court.
If there is evidence the application was served on (given to) the defendant, and the defendant has failed to come to court, the magistrate may make an order in the defendant's absence (without the defendant being there).
If there is no evidence the application was served, the case may be adjourned so that the police (or nominated person) can have more time to try and serve the application.
If the defendant does not consent (not agree) to the AVO, the court may make directions (orders) including:
The court may also make some orders about whether the police need to provide a brief of evidence to the defendant, but only if the defendant has also been charged with a criminal offence.
At the next court date 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 does not go to court on the next mention date, 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