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Apprehended violence orders

What is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)?

An AVO is an order from the court saying that you can't do certain things (like assaulting or threatening your carer or breaking things in your house). These orders are made by the court to protect people from violence.

An AVO is not a criminal charge, but if you breach it, you can be charged with a serious crime and get locked up for up to two years.

Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) are orders about things that happen in your home or with your family, carers, girlfriend or boyfriend, even if you don't live with them. Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs) are about things that happen out of home, for example at school or with neighbours.

What if the person taking out the AVO doesn't want it anymore?

Most of the AVOs that come to court are taken out by the police for the protection of someone else like your mum or neighbour, so it's something that the police control. Even if the person in need of protection (PINOP) says they don't want the AVO anymore, the police can still ask the court for the order to be made.

What should I do about the AVO?

There are lots of different options in dealing with AVO matters. Your lawyer will explain these too you. The lawyer will suggest what they think is best but it is important to remember that you get to choose in the end, even if that choice is different to what the lawyer recommends.

Can I take out an AVO against the person taking the AVO out against me?

Yes, if you have been the victim of violence or intimidation, you should call the police. The police may then apply to the court for an AVO protecting you against the other person.

If the person in need of protection on the AVO is not being violent towards you but is harassing you and trying to get you to breach the AVO, try your best not to react in a way that means you are breaching the AVO.

Instead you should make notes of how and when they are contacting you and what your response was. If the harassment continues, you should call the police.

Be careful! You can be charged even if the person who is protected by the AVO is acting like there isn't an order in place any more.

For example, the order says you can't go to your ex-partner's house but they call you and ask you to come over anyway. If you do go to their house, you can still be charged with breaching the AVO. Even answering a text message can be a breach of an AVO.