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Domestic violence


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In this section you will find information about the offences of intimidation, stalking and breaching an apprehended violence order (AVO), withdrawing an AVO and provisional orders. We also answer the commonly asked questions about apprehended domestic violence orders and apprehended personal violence orders.

Please choose the topic you are interested in or read further on this page about the types of orders that a court can make, what restrictions can be imposed by the court and a dictionary of commonly used terms.

Domestic violence can involve a wide range of behaviour, including physical, emotional and verbal abuse, as well as stalking and intimidating a person with intent to harm. Apprehended violence orders (AVO's) may be issued to protect a person from such behaviour.

Different types of orders courts can make

The vast majority of AVO's are made in the Local Court by a magistrate. They remain in force for the time set by the court.

There are two categories of AVO's:

1) Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs): This order protects a person from violence, threats and harassment from a spouse, de facto partner, ex-partner, family member, carer or person living in the same household.

2) Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs): This order protects a person from violence, threats and harassment from anyone you are not in a domestic or family relationship with, and have never been in a relationship with.

What types of behaviour can AVO's restrict?

A court may impose any prohibitions or restrictions on the defendant's behaviour which appear necessary or desirable to the court, and to ensure the safety and protection of the person who needs the protection and any children from domestic or personal violence.

Every AVO made by a court prohibits:

  • Assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or otherwise interfering with the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.
  • Engaging in any other conduct that intimidates the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.
  • Stalking the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.

Other prohibitions or restrictions may include:

  • Prohibiting or restricting the defendant from approaching the protected person.
  • Prohibiting or restricting the defendant from having access to the protected person's home, workplace or any place the protected person frequents.
  • Prohibiting or restricting the defendant from approaching the protected person or the above-mentioned places within 12 hours of consuming illicit drugs or alcohol.
  • Prohibiting the defendant from destroying or deliberately damaging or interfering with the protected person's property.
  • Prohibiting or restricting certain behaviour by the defendant that might affect the protected person.

Interim orders and final orders

Interim orders

Temporary orders that a court can make until the final orders have been determined. An interim order has the same effect as a final order. It remains in force until final orders are made, unless the order is revoked or the complaint is withdrawn or dismissed.

If the defendant is at court when the order is made, the Interim AVO starts immediately. If the defendant is not at court when the order is made, it starts when the defendant receives a copy of the Interim AVO.

An application for an interim order via telephone or fax is also possible. A police officer attending the incident between the defendant and the protected person can apply for a "provisional order" to be made if it is not practicable to apply personally for an interim order.

Final orders:

A final AVO can be made for as long as the court believes it is necessary to ensure the person's protection. The court must be satisfied that:

  • The protected person has reasonable grounds to fear and in fact does fear that the defendant will commit a personal violence offence against him/her, or the defendant will engage in conduct to intimidate or stalk the other person, and
  • Such conduct is sufficient to warrant the making of an order.

However, the court can make a final order regardless if the above requirements are fulfilled, if:

  • The protected person is a child,
  • The person has a significant intellectual disability, or
  • The court thinks that the defendant has or is likely to commit a personal violence offence against the protected person, and the making of the order is necessary to protect the person from further violence.

Dictionary of terms

Domestic violence:

Personal violence committed against:

  • a relative, spouse or de facto of the defendant
  • a person who has or has had an intimate personal relationship (e.g. boyfriend/girlfriend) with the defendant, or
  • a person living in the same household as the defendant but not merely as a tenant or boarder

Personal violence offence:
This includes violence towards a person, stalking or intimidating a person with intent to cause mental or physical harm, molestation, harassment and breaching an AVO.

Apprehended Violence Order (AVO):
A court order designed to protect a person who reasonably fears personal violence, molestation, or harassment from a specified person. AVO's prohibit intimidation or stalking of the protected person. It may restrict the defendant from approaching a protected person at home, work or any place the protected person often attends.

Protected person/person in need of protection (PINOP):
This is the person for whose protection an AVO is made

The person against whom an AVO is made or is sought to be made.

The person who seeks (or has sought) an AVO. This may be the PINOP, or a police officer.

When the defendant to an AVO applies for an AVO against the complainant

Interim order:
An order made by the court to protect the PINOP from the defendant before the hearing

A police officer who takes out an AVO on someone's behalf

Telephone Interim Order:
An interim AVO made by a magistrate where application was made over the telephone

where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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