What is a Private AVO?

What is a Private AVO?

By cropped movement legal

· Read time: 6 minutes

A private AVO is a legally enforceable order of the court made by an individual. AVO stands for apprehended violence order, and in this case is different to an AVO made by the Police (a Police AVO).

What are the conditions of an AVO?

The most important condition is an order preventing the person with the AVO from harassing, stalking or assaulting the Person in Need of Protection (PINOP). They can also prevent someone from attending that person’s place of residence and place of work, from being within a certain distance of that person, or from contacting that person in any way.

The breach of an AVO is a criminal offence, for which you can face imprisonment for up to 2 years, a fine of up to $5500, or both.

Types of AVOs:

Before applying for or defending an AVO, it is important to understand which type applies to your situation. If you would like assistance, get in touch with us via the contact form. The 2 types of AVOs in NSW are:

1. Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders

2. Apprehended Personal Violence Orders

Domestic Violence Order NSW:

An apprehended domestic violence order protects a person from violence committed by someone they are, or were, in a domestic relationship with.

A domestic relationship encapsulates a relationship between 2 people who:

1. Were/are married, in a de facto relationship, or in an intimate personal relationship

2. Are/were living together

3. Are/were living in the same residential facility

4. Are/were relatives

5. Have/had a relationship where 1 person cares for the other without payment

6. In the case of First Nations Australians, they have been part of each other’s extended family or kin (according to the Indigenous kinship of the person’s culture).

Personal Violence Order NSW:

An apprehended personal violence order functions to protect a person from violence committed by someone that they are not, and have not previously, been in a relationship with. This may include:

  • A neighbour
  • A co-worker
  • A customer or client
  • A former friend
  • A school bully
  • Any other person they have reason to fear.

AVOs in Australia

AVOs go by different names across Australia’s States and Territories.

State or TerritoryTerm
NSWApprehended Domestic Violence Order
QueenslandDomestic Violence Order (DVO)
VictoriaIntervention Order
Western AustraliaFamily Violence Restraining Order
South AustraliaIntervention Order
TasmaniaFamily Violence Order
ACTDomestic Violence Order
Northern TerritoryDomestic Violence Order

Do you have to pay for an AVO?

There is no cost for applying for an AVO. However, there are costs involved due to the lawyer’s fees and expenses such as money for witnesses.

Often in AVO cases, the Court will make an order that one party pays the legal costs of the other party.

If the Court makes a Final AVO, they will likely ask the defendant to pay. Alternatively, if they dismiss the case, the defendant might ask that the applicant pays the costs. Here, the Court decides on a reasonable amount.  

The money must be paid within 28 days of the Court’s decision. This will likely be to the Court registry (unless a different order is made).  

Application to vary or revoke apprehended violence order:

After an AVO is made, it can be changed or revoked at any time.

The effect of this can:

  • Extend the duration of the AVO
  • Reduce the duration of the AVO
  • Add orders
  • Remove orders
  • Change orders

An application can be made by the police, the protected person, a guardian of the protected person, or the defendant.

How do you apply for an AVO?

An application for an AVO can be made by:

  • The police on your behalf (a police application)
  • A guardian
  • You personally at your Local Court (a private application)

If you want an AVO against someone you are or were in a domestic relationship with, you should contact the police. It is important to note that only the police can apply for an AVO against a child under the age of 16. However, if you are an adult seeking an AVO, your children can be included in your own one. If you are making a police application, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Speak to the police – this includes reporting incidents and communicating your fears at a police station or after police have attended one of these incidents.
  2. Provide a statement – this includes your personal details and that of your situation.
  3. Sign the statement
  4. The police will serve the application to the person you are filing an AVO against.
  5. You will be told a date that you have to go to Court. You will be represented by a police prosecutor.

If the police won’t apply for an AVO, you can do it yourself, via the following steps:  

  1. Contact your Local Court – each local court is different so call first to find out what you need to do at yours.
  2. Fill out the required forms at your local court – these include your personal details and the details of your circumstance.
  3. Sign the application
  4. Serve the application to the person you are filing it against – this must be done by either the police or a person nominated by the court.
  5. Go to court- the date and time of this will be shown on your application. In a private application, you will need to represent yourself or get a lawyer.

How long does an AVO last in NSW?

The amount of time that your AVO lasts for will be written on your final AVO.

This length of time depends on:

  • The length of time requested by the applicant
  • The seriousness of the threat
  • The protected person’s fears
  • Past incidents

Personal Violence Orders last for a set amount of time as decided by the Court. If the Court fails to specify a time, the AVO will last for 12 months.

Similarly, Domestic Violence Orders last for a period specified by the Court. If the Court fails to state this, the AVO lasts for 2 years. When this type of AVO is made against someone who is sentenced to full time gaol for a serious offence, the court can order that the AVO remain in place for the time the person is in gaol and continue for 2 years after the sentence is complete.

A court can also choose to make a domestic violence order for an indefinite amount of time (provided you are at least 18 years of age).

If you would like advice on any of these areas, get in touch with us via the contact form. 

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