Being named as a defendant in an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) application can be extremely daunting. Orders can be made for the protection of a person in a domestic relationship, an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) or for the protection of a person who is outside of a domestic relationship, Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVO).

An application for an AVO can be made by a Police Officer or a person over the age of 16 to the Local Court Registry. The applicant needs to demonstrate that they have been victim to a physical assault, threats of physical harm, stalking, intimidation, or harassment and they have reasonable fear that the alleged behaviour will continue. The applicant will be required to prove on the balance of probabilities, that is it is more necessary than not, that they require the protection of an AVO.

Should an applicant be successful in gaining a provisional AVO, the Order will be served by either a Police Officer or a Court Sheriff detailing the grounds of the Order and the proposed conditions sought by the applicant. When an AVO is issued, standard conditions are included to prevent the defendant from doing the following things to the applicant:

  1. a) assault or threaten the applicant,
  2. b) stalk, harass or intimidate the applicant,
  3. c) intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage any property or harm an animal that belongs to or is in the possession of the applicant.

Additional conditions can be included which stop the defendant from:

  1. living in the same home as the applicant,
  2. approaching the applicant after they have been drinking alcohol, or taking illegal drugs,
  3. talking to the applicant except through a solicitor,
  4. approaching or entering premises where the applicant lives or works.

In circumstances where a parent or caregiver is restricted from seeing their children, there are exceptions available pursuant to family court orders which require specialist criminal and family law advice.

After service of an AVO, the defendant has an opportunity to either accept the grounds of the AVO, accept the AVO without admissions or to argue before the Court that there are no satisfactory grounds for the application.

The making of a Final AVO can cause significant consequences to the defendant including, but not limited to:

  1. Restrictions in certain types of employment opportunities;
  2. Prohibition from holding a firearms licence for a period of 10 years;
  3. Inability to hold certain types of security licences;
  4. Impact upon an ability to obtain work with children; and
  5. The conduct of Family Law proceedings and access to children.

AVO proceedings if properly handled need not impact severely upon your future and with appropriate assistance many of the above problems can be avoided all together. It is important to know that whilst an AVO does not appear on your criminal record, a breach of an AVO is a serious offence and one for which bail may be refused. You should never apply for or consent to an AVO without receiving legal advice upon the consequences for you and your family.

If you or anyone you know requires legal assistance in relation to defending an AVO application, call our experienced Criminal Law team today on 9525 8688 or email