Applying for an Apprehended Violence Order

Information about how to apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).

An application for an AVO can be made by:

  • the police on your behalf (called a 'police application')
  • a guardian appointed under a guardianship order
  • you personally (called a 'private application').

The people involved in an AVO matter are:

  • Applicant: the person asking the Court to make an AVO.
  • Protected person: the person who wants protection from the defendant. The protected person is also called the 'Person in Need of Protection' (PINOP) or the complainant.
  • Defendant: the person you want protection from.
  • Your safety is important.

    Your safety is important.

    If you feel unsafe or are experiencing any violence, contact the police, a domestic violence counsellor or get legal advice.

The police must apply for an AVO to protect you if:

  • a domestic violence offence has been, is being, or will be committed against you
  • the defendant has recently, is currently, or will likely stalk or intimidate you with the intention of causing you to fear physical or mental harm
  • an offence against a child or young person has been, is being, or will be committed
  • there are proceedings against the defendant for any of the above offences. 

The police must apply for a Provisional AVO if they believe that an order need to be made immediately to:

  • ensure your safety and protection, or
  • prevent substantial damage to your property. 

The police don't have to apply for an AVO if:

  • there is already an AVO in place to protect you
  • you are going to make your own application for an AVO
  • there is a good reason not to make an application. 

If the police decide not to apply for an AVO to protect you they must write down the reasons for their decision. 

Only the police can apply for an AVO against a child under the age of 16. However if you are an adult seeking an AVO, your children can be included in your own AVO.

For more information see, Police applications.

If the police won’t apply for an AVO to protect you, you may be able to apply yourself.

Before you contact the Local Court about making an application for an AVO, you should consider your reasons for wanting an AVO carefully. If you make an application and you lose in court, you may be ordered to pay the defendant's costs. For more information about costs, see Costs in Apprehended Violence Order cases.

It is an offence to make a false or misleading statement to a magistrate or registrar when applying for an APVO. 

If you don't know whether you should make an application for an AVO, you should get legal advice.

For more information see Private applications.

Before applying for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you should consider whether you can prove that you need an AVO.

The applicant will need to prove that:

  • they, or the protected person fears that another person will be violent towards them, harass them or intimidate or stalk them (this is a subjective test, which means that it is based on what the protected person actually feels), and
  • the protected person's fear is based on reasonable grounds (this is an objective test, which means it is based on whether the Court believes that a person in the protected person's situation would feel the same as the protected person).​

You don't have to suffer actual violence to get an AVO. 

The Court can make an AVO even if the protected person doesn't actually fear the defendant, if the protected person:

  • is a child
  • is a person of appreciably below average intelligence function
  • has reasonable ground to fear a domestic violence offence
  • has been a victim of a personal violence offence committed by the defendant on more than one occasion, there is a reasonable likelihood that the defendant will commit a further personal violence offence against the protected person, and the AVO is necessary to protect them. 

While an application for a Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is still being decided, you may be able to get a temporary AVO to protect you. 

There are two types of temporary AVOs:

  • a Provisional AVO, and
  • an Interim AVO. 

If the situation is urgent, the police can apply for a Provisional AVO on your behalf. This means you will be protected until your case is heard in court. 

Where a Provisional AVO has been made, it will automatically become an Interim AVO at the first mention unless:

  • the AVO is revoked
  • the matter is withdrawn or dismissed
  • the Court makes an Interim or Final AVO.

When a Provisional AVO is automatically converted to an Interim AVO, the Interim AVO will contain the same orders as the Provisional AVO. The Court could also make an Interim AVO with different orders to the Provisional AVO.

If there was no Provisional AVO made, the Court can make an Interim AVO at a mention if they think it is necessary, until your case is finalised.

A court can make a Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) if:

  • the defendant doesn't come to court
  • the defendant consents (agrees) to a Final AVO
  • you are successful at a hearing. 

Once a Final AVO is made there are consequences of having the AVO and of breaching it. 

There are two different types of orders that may be included in an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO):

  • mandatory orders
  • additional orders. 

All AVOs include compulsory orders that may be called standard orders, mandatory orders or orders about behaviour. From 3 December 2016 these orders are listed on an AVO under a heading 'Orders about behaviour.' 

There are also additional orders that can be included in an AVO especially for your situation. 

In Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) matters, the Court may award costs against the unsuccessful party.

If you apply for an AVO and the Court dismissed your application, the defendant may ask the Court to you to pay their legal fees. 

If the police apply for an order to protect you, a costs order can't be made against you because you are not the applicant. 

If you have left personal property with the defendant, or the defendant has left personal property with you, the Court can make a Property Recovery Order. 

A Property Recovery Order can only be made ​at the same time that a Provisional, Interim or Final Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is made. It can't be made after your case is finished or in Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) cases.