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Break your silence, stop the violence

Break your silence cover imageAdvice about domestic violence and help at court

What is a WDVCAS?

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCASs) are local, community based organisations in NSW. They assist women and kids at court and can help and support you to obtain an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO). They are funded by Legal Aid NSW.

How can they help you?

They do not provide legal advice but can help you in many other ways. They can:

  • Support you and provide a safe place for you to wait while you’re at court
  • Give you information about court and AVOs
  • If you wish, where possible, have an Aboriginal worker to help you
  • Help you talk with the gunjies or your lawyer
  • Put you in touch with other support services and legal advice. In a number of courts, Legal Aid NSW provides lawyers who can give you free, independent legal advice.

What is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)?

  • It’s an order made by the court telling a person to stop hurting or harassing you.
  • An AVO can also include your kids and other members of your family.
  • An AVO is not a criminal charge.
  • Call the police on triple zero (000 or 112 from mobiles) if your AVO is breached by the defendant. Tell the gunjies you have an AVO.

There are two types of AVO

  1. An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is made when the people involved are related or in a relationship. It can include members of your extended family.
  2. An Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) is made for all other relationships. For example, neighbourhood disputes or workmates.

How do I get an AVO?

There are two ways you can get an AVO:

  1. Gunjies can apply for you. There are specially trained domestic violence gunjies called Domestic Violence Liaison Officers (DVLOs). Make sure you talk with a DVLO.
  2. You can apply at a Local Court. This is called a private application. WDVCAS, Local Court staff or your lawyer can help you.

Do I need to go to court?

Yes. The WDVCAS will support you. It can be more than one visit to court to obtain an AVO. A magistrate can excuse you from attending court but it is better if you are there on the day. No one knows your matter better than you so make sure the court gets all of your information.

Will a WDVCAS help me if I want to keep living with my partner?

Yes. AVOs can be made to allow you to keep living with your partner.

What if I don’t want to get an AVO anymore?

You can ask to withdraw your AVO. The WDVCAS can help you understand how this works. You will need to tell the reasons why you want to withdraw.

Changing your AVO

Your situation may have changed since your AVO was made and you may wish to change the conditions on the order. Your WDVCAS can help you.

Our services cover many courts around NSW.

Call 1800 WDVCAS (1800 938 227) to find the service closest to you.

More information and help

000 (112 from mobiles)
TTY: 106

Family and Community Services Domestic Violence Line
1800 656 463 (24 hours, 7 days)
TTY: 1800 671 442
Kids Helpline Ph: 1800 551 800

Women’s Legal Services Domestic Violence Advice Line
8745 6999 Within Sydney
1800 810 784 Outside Sydney (Rural Free Call Line)

LawAccess NSW
1300 888 529
TTY: 1300 889 529
Safe Relationship Project
(Same Sex, Transgender, Intersex)  9332 1966 or
1800 244 481

Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre
9569 3847 or 1800 686 587

If you are hearing/speech impaired, you can communicate with us by calling the National Relay Service (NRS) on 133 677.

This information is intended as a general guide to the law. It should not be relied on as legal advice and it is recommended that you talk to a lawyer about your particular situation.

At the time of updating, the information shown is correct but may be subject to change. If you need more help, contact LawAccess on 1300 888 529.

A print copy of this brochure may be ordered online.

November 2016