An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an order issued by a court which offers one person protection from another person (the defendant) in the case of actual or threatened violence. It is designed to protect the victim from physical assault and also from non-physical abuse such as verbal harassment, intimidation, stalking, and threats of damage to property or pets

Apprehended violence orders are issued in accordance with Part 15A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). State parliament introduced amendments to Part 15A of the Crimes Act in April 2000 that made a number of significant changes to these rules.

Types of AVOs

Under NSW law, there are two different types of AVO - Domestic AVOs and Personal AVOs:

Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders are primarily made when there exists a domestic relationship between the victim and the defendant, such as when the parties are married or living in a de facto arrangement.

An Apprehended Personal Violence Order is made to protect an individual from another person where there is not a pre-existing domestic relationship.

NSW Police and AVOs

NSW police have an obligation to apply for an AVO on behalf of the victim in cases involving actual or suspected domestic violence.

NSW police are also required to apply for an AVO on behalf of persons under 16 years if they have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving child abuse has been committed or is likely to be committed. The definition of what constitutes child abuse in this context is defined in the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Act) 1998.

Consequences of an AVO

An AVO will not go on your criminal record. However, if you later breach an AVO, this is a serious criminal offence. The penalties can be severe, with fines of $5,500 and up to 2 years in gaol.

Once an order for an AVO has been made, the person who the order relates to is in a vulnerable position. This is because their former spouse or partner can later make allegations against them which will result in them being breached. Many AVO allegations are only made in the course of Family Court proceedings.

Indeed there are occasions where these allegations are designed to achieve a purpose in the Family Court rather than being a genuine AVO application. Our criminal lawyers will strongly fight these allegations and our clients are often vindicated.

How Long Will An AVO Remain in Effect?

An AVO can be imposed on an individual by the Court for as long as they deem necessary, although generally the orders do not cover a period of longer than 2 years.

How Can I Defend Myself Against An AVO?

Our criminal lawyers are specialists in these types of matters and have defended hundreds of AVO allegations and associated domestic violence related charges. Their experience in matters we defend is that many allegations are exaggerated or false. There are two sides to every story and unfortunately police will quickly charge the defendant, and only later ask for their version of events. We strongly advise you to remain silent during any police process. If you have already made a statement, seek legal advice immediately.

If somebody is taking out an AVO against you, call our criminal lawyers now for fast, accurate and timely legal advice. Contact us urgently if an the police have applied for an AVO against you, as this may be followed by criminal charges. Simply phone our office on 02 9024 9530 or drop us an email using the contact form to the right. The initial consultation is free and carries no obligations.