Local Court > Types of cases

Apprehended violence orders (AVOs)

AVOs are orders that a court makes to protect people. AVOs protect people by ordering a person known as the 'defendant' not to assault, molest, harass, intimidate or stalk the protected person for a specific period of time.

AVOs can also have additional orders. For example, orders can be made which prohibit the defendant from contacting the protected person, going within a certain distance of the protected person's home or work, and destroying or damaging the protected person's property. Read more about AVOs on the LawAccess NSW AVO pages.

AVOs do not give defendants a criminal record.

The defendant is not allowed to keep any firearms, or to hold a firearms licence for 10 years after the AVO ends, unless the AVO is cancelled by the court. If you are a defendant and have a firearms licence, or any firearms, you must immediately surrender them to the police.

An apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) is an AVO made for the protection of a person against another person with whom they have or have had a domestic relationship.  An ADVO made from 25 November 2017 operates nationally and defendants are required to comply with the order across Australia.  Where an ADVO was made prior to 25 November 2017, an application can be made to have the order declared to be recognised nationally.

An AVO made for protection of a person who is not and has not been in a relationship with the defendant, an apprehended personal violence order (APVO), can be registered in another state. If the protected person moves to another Australian state or territory they can register the AVO with a court in that state or territory. The AVO will then continue to provide protection for them. The defendant does not have to be told that the order is registered in another state or territory.

Find more information on this website about AVO hearings in court

Applying for an AVO?

Visit LawAssist for more information about AVOs and applying for an AVO.

What happens if you disobey an AVO?

It is a crime to disobey an AVO. The penalty for disobeying an AVO is two years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500. Call the police immediately if an order made to protect you is not being complied with.

Need help?

Call LawAccess NSW 1300 888 529

Before starting any court proceedings you should check which court or tribunal is right for your matter. Call LawAccess NSW for help.

LawAccess NSW is a free government telephone service that provides legal information, referrals and in some cases, advice for people who have a legal problem in New South Wales.

Visit www.lawaccess.justice.nsw.gov.au

The Representing yourself section of the LawAccess website can help you if you have a legal problem in New South Wales. Representing yourself explains legal procedures and forms for court and tribunal cases. It provides:

  • step by step guides to starting and running your case
  • instructions for filling out court forms
  • checklists and frequently asked questions
  • information on alternatives to court
  • contacts for further information and advice  

Court support for victims of domestic violence

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need support in court, contact the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP).

Legal advice for women affected by domestic violence  

Contact the Domestic Violence Legal Service.


​ ​The information on this site is a guide only and is not legal advice - see disclaimer.