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Common Questions About An AVO (NSW)

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) in New South Wales is an order made by a court to protect a person from apprehended violence by another person. AVOs are governed by the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. An AVO can be made when a person fears violence, intimidation or stalking by the other person and where there are reasonable grounds for that fear and the conduct feared warrants the making of an order.


An AVO can be an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) or an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO).

An ADVO is made between two people who are in or have been in a domestic relationship. This may be two people who are related by blood, such as siblings, or two people who have had a relationship.

An APVO is made between two people who have not been in a domestic relationship.

What Happens if the ‘Protected Person’ Named in an AVO Doesn’t Attend Court?

An application for an AVO may be made by the person seeking to be protected under the order or it may be made by the police. If the police make the application, there is no need for the protected person to attend court on the first occasion. The police will attend court and the defendant will also be required to do so, in order to either consent to the order or indicate to the court that they wish to oppose the order.

If the defendant consents to the order, there will be no need for the protected person to attend court.

If the defendant attends court and opposes the order, the matter will be adjourned to another date for a contested hearing. On that day, the court will hear evidence from both parties as to why the court should or should not make the order. The protected person will generally be required to attend the hearing to give evidence, although in some situations they may be allowed to do this by videolink, so as not to have to come into contact with the defendant in the courtroom.

If the application is made by the protected person (with or without a lawyer), they will be required to attend court each time the matter is mentioned. However, in some cases, they made by allowed to attend by phone or videolink. This is most likely to occur where there are safety concerns about coming into contact with the defendant.

What Happens if the Defendant Named in an AVO Doesn’t Attend Court?

When an application is made for an AVO, it must be served on the defendant, who will be required to attend court on the date the matter is listed to be heard. If the defendant has been effectively served with the application but does not attend court and their absence is unexplained, the court may make the order in their absence. The police will then be required to serve the AVO on the defendant. The AVO will take effect when it is served on the defendant.

In some cases, a defendant has been served with the application but does not attend court for a good reason. This may be that they are unable to get to court or they are dealing with a serious medical issue. In this situation, the court may agree to adjourn the matter until a later date so that the defendant can attend. It may make an interim AVO to be in place until the next court date if the applicant seeks this.

Does an AVO appear on a police check?

When an AVO is made against a person, this is a civil matter. When a police check is conducted against a person, the fact that an AVO has been made against them does not show up on that police check. However, if a person has been found guilty of breaching the conditions of an AVO, this is a criminal offence and will show up on any police check that is conducted on the person.

How to Get the Other Side to Pay Your Legal Costs

In AVO cases, the court may order one party to pay the other party’s professional costs. These include professional expenses and disbursements, but not court fees.

An order for professional costs may be awarded to a party at the end of AVO proceedings or after an adjournment where the court is satisfied that the other party has incurred additional costs because of delays by the party against whom the order is made.

An order for professional costs can be made whatever the result of proceedings. It may be made for a specified amount or for an amount as agreed or assessed.

What evidence is needed for an AVO?

If an application is made for an AVO and the order is opposed, the applicant will need to adduce evidence that the order is warranted. This will mean demonstrating that the protected person has reasonable grounds to fear violence, intimidation or stalking by the defendant and that the conduct feared warrants the making of an AVO.

This evidence will usually include the protected person’s account of any past incidents of violence, threats or intimidating or stalking behaviour by the defendant. It may also include evidence from other people who have witnessed the defendant’s behaviour. In some cases, objective evidence may also be adduced. This may include items such as CCTV footage.

What happens if you lie?

Providing false information after you have taken an oath or affirmation to tell the truth is perjury, which is a criminal offence. A person can be charged with perjury because they have knowingly given false information in an affidavit or during oral evidence in court.

In New South Wales, the offence of perjury is contained in section 327 of the Crimes Act 1900. It carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for ten years.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

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