What will happen at an AVO hearing

This page outlines what happens at court if the defendant consents to an AVO, opposes an AVO or does not appear at court.

What happens if I consent to an AVO?

An AVO can be granted if both the defendant and the protected person consent to the order being made. You can consent to the AVO without having to admit to what you are accused of.

The benefit of having orders made by consent is that there is no hearing. This reduces costs, time and the inconvenience of giving evidence.

However, it is important to carefully consider the consequences of an AVO being made. If an order is made, and you are then alleged of breaching it, then you could be charged with a criminal offence. At the same time, it is important to note that an AVO is not a conviction and thus will not give you a criminal record.

What happens if I oppose the AVO?

If you do not consent to the AVO and the AVO application is sought by the protected person, the matter will be adjourned to another day for a “show cause hearing”. At the hearing, the court will hear evidence from both sides and any witnesses from each side. The protected person must show the court why an AVO should be granted. 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.

Although an AVO hearing is similar to a hearing for a criminal offence, it is not a criminal proceeding. The protected person only needs to prove his or her case on the balance of probabilities, which is a lower standard than beyond reasonable doubt.

The disadvantages of this are that costs will be greater if parties have lawyers. Moreover, a hearing can strain the continuing relationship of the parties.

What happens if a party doesn’t turn up to court?

If a party doesn’t turn up (either personally or through a lawyer):

  • The court can make an interim (temporary) order
  • The court can still hear and determine the matter on that day at its discretion.
  • The court may issue a warrant for a defendant, provided that you had notice of the date, time and place of the proceedings. The court can dismiss the proceedings
  • The matter is adjourned and a warrant is issued for the arrest of the alleged victim (this is only likely to occur where the victim has been subpoenaed and has disobeyed the subpoena).
  • The matter is adjourned until another date to see if the police can get the alleged victim to court.
  • The matter is stood in the list at court until the police go to the alleged victim’s house or workplace.



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.


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