An Apprehended Violence Order (“AVO”) protects people experiencing violence, intimidation or harassment from any future violence by the perpetrators of such actions. They are commonly referred to as ‘restraining orders’. An AVO protects victims by placing restrictions on what the defendant can or cannot do.
There are two types of AVOs:
1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)
- This order is made where the violence involves parties who are related, are in an intimate relationship, or are living together
- Can be made against a current or former partner
- If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, ADVOs can be made where the people involved are part of the kin or extended family
- Also suitable for people being cared for in a dependent care relationship against paid or unpaid carers and people living in the same residential facility
2. Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)
- This order is made where you are not in a domestic relationship with the defendant, for example, a neighbour or colleague
Applying for an AVO
Most AVOs are applied for by the police. Sometimes individuals apply for the AVO themselves by completing an application at the Local Court. This is known as a private application and is not covered in this fact sheet.
- The police may apply for an AVO on your behalf if you have reported an incident of violence at a police station or if the police attend your house after an incident of domestic violence
- An AVO applicant must be aged 16 years or older. If you are under 16 years of age, only the police can apply for an AVO on your behalf
Can I get immediate protection?
Senior police officers can issue a provisional AVO upon your attendance at a police station without needing to wait for a court date. A provisional AVO gives you immediate protection from the perpetrator as the perpetrator will need to follow the provisional AVO as soon as it is issued.
What is the process for attending Court?
At the first mention, that is, the first court appearance, the defendant can agree to the AVO being made without admitting that they have done anything wrong. If this occurs, the final AVO will be made that day meaning you do not have to attend court.
If the defendant does not agree to the AVO, the case will be adjourned. The matter will then be listed for final hearing at which the Magistrate will make their decision.
Please refer to the diagram in Figure 1: Court process relating to AVOs.