Apprehended Violence Orders

Restraining orders are known as Apprehended Violence Orders in New South Wales (AVOs). The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 is the primary piece of legislation in NSW that addresses AVOs. These orders are intended to safeguard a person from many forms of abuse, including sexual, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.

There are two types of AVOs:

  1. An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) which is issued where there is a domestic relationship between the parties; and
  2. An Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) which deals with the protection of someone or something when there isn’t a household relationship present, like between co-workers, neighbours or complete strangers.


Any person, over the age of 16, who is or has been the victim of physical assault, threats of physical harm, stalking, intimidation or harassment and has a reasonable fear to believe that this behaviour will continue can apply for an AVO. Subsequently a Police Officer can also apply for an AVO on behalf of a person.  They have a duty to evaluate your circumstances, get a statement if necessary, and submit the application on your behalf if they believe and suspect that an AVO is required to ensure your safety and protection.

The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 provides that the criteria that needs to be established to satisfy the court to issue an AVO is that:

  • there are fears for your safety; and  
  • those fears are reasonable.


Under Section 36 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 the following prohibitions must be specified in every apprehended violence order, prohibiting the defendant from:

  • assaulting or threatening the person
  • stalking, harassing or intimidating person
  • intentionally or recklessly destroying or damaging any property that belongs to, or is in the possession of, the person


Other orders that can be added in the AVO include the defendant not being allowed to:

  • reside at the family home
  • contact the protected person except through the use of a lawyer,
  • be withing a certain distance from the protected person/s residence, work or school.
  • be in the company of protected person for at least 12 hours after taking alcohol or drugs.
  • possess any firearms or prohibited weapons.
  • try and locate the Protected Person.


Once the Defendant receives notice of the AVO, it becomes binding. If you think the defendant violates one of the terms of an active, enforceable Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), you should inform your local police, who will look into it and, if there is enough evidence, may file charges.

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