Apprehended Violence Orders

If you are in fear of your own or your family's safety or have been the victim of physical assault or threats of physical assault
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The following infornation is for New South Wales residents.
For residents of other states check with the Police in your state or your Laywer for information regarding AVO laws.

There are laws in every state that deal with Threatening behaviour, Stalking, Harassment and Intimidation see the Links below

Our NFH AVO Story

We ended up obtaining an AVO against one of our N'sFH after the male NFH assaulted one of us, and in this particular instance he miscalculated and didn't realise that our other neighbours were watching (the N'sFH were usually sneaky enough to make sure that there were no witnesses to their behaviour). The male NFH had for some time been behaving in a threatening manner that we later found out would have been considered stalking i.e. standing on the boundary and staring at us, driving past us and up and down the boundary very slowly and repeatedly at all hours of the day and night, generally creepy sort of behaviour that left us in no doubt that he was trying to intimidate and frighten us.

Under the circumstances of a witnessed assault the NFH had no option than to agree to the AVO, he could have contested it but the police had charged him and we had witnesses so he would have lost. Had we obtained an AVO earlier, because of the stalking, the assault may not have happened ? the NFH would have had to consider the possibility of a gaol sentence ? however the AVO would have been technically more difficult to obtain because;

"The court has to be convinced that the protected person needs an AVO because they fear the defendant, and it is reasonable for them to fear the defendant.
The court needs to be convinced on the balance of probabilities, which means that something is more likely to be true than not."

We had a detailed records of the behaviour of the NFH so it would have been up to us, largely based on those records, to convince the court had the NFH chosen to contest the issuing of an AVO against him. In hindsight we should have pursued the AVO regarding the stalking and one of the reasons we hadn't was that when we had previously contacted the police about the threatening and intimidating behaviour, the officer we spoke to was less than encouraging and said "its your word against theirs" and made no mention of the possibility of obtaining an AVO.

N.B. when you speak to the police make sure that you ask for the Name of the officer you are speaking to and ask for a receipt number (also referred to as an event number or a complaint number.) this way the police will take you seriously and you will be able to prove your complaint/s in court if that becomes necessary.

You can download a Stalking Incident Log PDF here


The following information is from the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a court order that aims to protect a person from domestic or personal violence. Domestic and personal violence can include:

  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • financial restrictions or control
  • obsessive or jealous behaviour
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • harassment.
An AVO can also protect property that has been damaged or threatened with damage.

An AVO is sometimes called an Intervention Order, Restraining Order, Protection Order, Domestic Violence Order or Family Violence Order.

Before applying for or defending an AVO, you need to know what type of AVO applies in your circumstances. LawAssist has guides for people who don't have a lawyer and who want to apply for or defend an AVO. If you are unsure what type of AVO you need or have been given, you should get Legal advice.

Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO)

Case study ? Elizabeth and Gary

Elizabeth and Gary have been married for four years. They have an 18-month-old daughter. Gary has been out of work since he lost his job as a salesman four months ago. Elizabeth has been working longer hours to try and pay the bills but things have been really tense at home. Gary has always had a bad temper but lately things have become worse. He puts Elizabeth down, calling her "useless" and "lazy". Two weeks ago, he pushed Elizabeth over causing her to break her arm. Elizabeth told her doctor about what has been happening and her doctor encouraged her to go to the police. Elizabeth feels helpless and doesn't know what to do.

A person can ask the court to make an ADVO when they are in, or were in, a domestic relationship with the person they want to be protected from. A 'domestic relationship' means that they:
  • were or are married
  • were or are in a de facto relationship
  • were or are in an intimate personal relationship
  • are living together or have lived together
  • have or had a relationship where one person cares for the other person (who may be paid or unpaid)
  • are relatives
  • in the case of an Aboriginal person or a Torres Strait Islander, have been part of each others extended family or kin (according to the Indigenous kinship system of the person's culture).
Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVO)

Case study ? Saabeah, Didier and Mark

Mark has lived in his house for 20 years. A few months ago he started doing some work around his house. Saabeah and Didier recently migrated from Africa and moved into the house next door. Mark has been placing the building rubble and garbage in his yard next to the fence. Saabeah and Didier have sent Mark a letter accusing him of throwing the garbage over their fence. Mark is really angry and frustrated. He believes Saabeah and Didier should mind their own business. Mark wrote them a letter warning them to leave him alone. On Tuesday Mark was served with an application for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order. He doesn't agree with what the papers say. Mark has to go to court in two weeks and doesn't know what to do.

A person can ask the court to make an APVO when they are not in, or have not been in, a domestic relationship with the person they want to be protected from. For example, a person may need protection from:
  • a neighbour
  • a co-worker
  • a customer or a client
  • a former friend
  • a school bully
  • any other person they have reason to fear.
Getting an AVO

If you are experiencing violence you can apply for an AVO. You can also apply for an AVO if:
  • you are in fear of being assaulted
  • you are being intimidated, harassed or molested (either in person or by telephone calls, text messages, emails, or in other ways, including through facebook or other similar websites), and fear for your safety
  • you are being stalked by someone where you live, where you work, or at places that you go.
If you want an AVO, see Getting an Apprehended Violence Order.

Defending an AVO

If you are being accused of assaulting, intimidating or stalking another person, the police or the person saying you are doing this can apply for an ADVO or APVO against you.

If you have been served with an application for an ADVO or APVO, see Defending an Apprehended Violence Order.

AVOs and Family Law

Orders made in the Family Court of Australia can affect the way an AVO works. Parenting Orders can mean that conditions in an AVO that restrict contact between a protected person or Person in Need of Protection (PINOP) and a defendant may not apply.

There are also other laws that can force a person to move out of their family home if there is violence or a threat of violence.

For more information, see Apprehended Violence Orders and Family Law.

AVO flowcharts

LawAssist provides flowcharts that show you an overview of the different steps you might have to go through when applying for an AVO, or when someone wants an AVO against you.

For more information, see Apprehended Violence Order flowcharts.

Interactive guides

LawAssist has interactive guides that take you through the process of applying for or defending an AVO step by step.

For more information, see Interactive guides for Apprehended Violence Orders.

Who's who in court

When you have to go to court, it can help if you know beforehand what to expect. LawAssist can show you what a typical court room looks like, who the different people are in the court, and where you should sit.

For more information, see Who's who in court.


There are a number of different forms in AVO cases, including application forms to get an AVO as well as forms to vary or revoke AVOs. There are also different types of AVOs that can be made. LawAssist shows you a number of sample forms and AVOs and explains what the different sections in those forms and AVOs mean.

For more information, see Forms - Apprehended Violence Orders.

Getting more help

For further assistance, see Getting more help.

The preceeding information is ? State of New South Wales through the Department of Attorney General and Justice

Helpful Links

New South Wales

See Above for information on NSW AVO's

NSW AVO's Frequently Asked Questions
Legal Aid NSW - Apprehended Violence Orders


South Australia

A restraining order can be made (usually through the police) under the Summary Procedure Act 1921. A court will make a restraining order under the Summary Procedure Act 1921 if satisfied that there is a reasonable apprehension that the defendant may, unless restrained:

  • cause personal injury or damage to property, or
  • behave in an intimidating or offensive manner
Legal Services Commission S.A. - Applying for an intervention order



What is a Peace and Good Behaviour Order?

An order made pursuant to the Peace and Good Behaviour Act 1982. Any person is able to make an application when:-

  • they are in fear of another person due to threats to their person from this other person;
  • they are in fear of a third person due to threats being made to their person by a person;
  • another person has threatened to damage or destroy your property; and
  • another person has threatened to have a third party damage or destroy your property.
How can I make an application?

You need to complete a complaint and summons form, which can be obtained online or from the nearest Magistrates Court.? It is important that you provide detailed information as to your complaint.
Qld Legal Aid - Stalking
Applying for protection under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act PDF
Peace and Good Behaviour Act 1982
Applying for a Peace and Good Behaviour Order


Western Australia

An intervention/restraining order form can be obtained either through the police who may apply to a Magistrate for an order by telephone in exceptional circumstances. The local police can also issue a 24-hour temporary restraining order in extraordinary cases while the main application is going through.

WA Attorney General Restraining Orders
Western Australia -How do I apply for a VRO or MRO? - W.A. Police



To obtain an Intervention order in Victoria takes 3 steps:

  1. The person seeking the Intervention order contacts the closest magistrates office, speaks with a court registrar and fills in an application form.
  2. The police notify the Defendant about the complaint.
  3. The magistrate has a court hearing and decides whether to make the order.


Victoria Legal Aid - Intervention orders
The Magistrates' Court of Victoria - Personal Safety Intervention Orders



People who want a restraint order in Tasmania need to apply to the Clerk of Petty Sessions at the Magistrates Court. If an urgent restraint order is needed, you will need to be able to explain why.

The? Magistrates Court of Tasmania


Northern Territory

You can apply for a Personal Violence Restraining Order (PVRO) against a person if that person has committed a personal violence offence against you or it is likely a personal violence offence is going to be committed against you by that person.

Personal Violence Restraining Orders PDF
N. T. Department of Justice
Northern Territory Magistrates Courts


Australian Capital Territory

In the ACT, it is necessary to apply for a Personal Protection Order under the Protection Orders Act 2001 as amended by the Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Amendment Act 2005. This is done through the local Magistrate's Court.

Applicants will need to complete an application form, and affidavit and a further confidential form. The Magistrate can grant interim orders, until a hearing is held and a Final Order granted.

Protection Orders
Domestic Violence and Personel Protection Orders
Victim Support ACT



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