Making private applications

If police will not apply for an AVO, or a person prefers not to apply through the police, they make their own application through the registrar at the Local Court. A person can choose to make a private AVO application. There is no legal requirement to go through the police first.

What information is required?

The registrar will want the applicant to tell them about the incident or behaviour that has made them fearful; provide relevant information including an address for service on the defendant (usually a home address); and explain what orders they are seeking. In preparing the application, the registrar will usually seek the following information:

  • the nature of the relationship with the other person (for example, married, de facto, relative)
  • length of relationship
  • details of recent incident or incidents that have caused fears for their safety, for example, assaults, threats, phone calls, text messages, online harassment
  • description of any previous violence or harassment or threats by the defendant
  • details of any reports to the police
  • details of treatment by medical practitioners
  • previous AVOs
  • previous charges/convictions for domestic violence offence(s)
  • whether they have children together or if there are children who live with the applicant
  • has there been violence or threats toward the children
  • are there family law orders or arrangements for the children to spend time with the defendant
  • are there proceedings currently before the family law courts

This information will be typed up and is called ‘Grounds for the Application’.

Does a protected person need a lawyer

In a private application, the protected person will need to represent themselves or find a solicitor. The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) may be able to arrange a lawyer free of charge for women victims of domestic violence in AVO mentions. A woman should contact the WDVCAS at her Local Court prior to the court date to confirm that a solicitor will be at court on the day to represent her free of charge.

Some Local Courts may not have a funded WDVCAS, but they may have local women’s organisations or other community services to assist women by providing free legal information or other services. The Domestic Violence Legal Service (part of Women’s Legal Services NSW) or the relevant Local Court can be contacted to ask about support options.