Apprehended Violence Orders

An AVO is a court order that protects a person from another person who causes them to fear for their safety.

An AVO is a court order that protects a person from another person who causes them to fear for their safety. An AVO can only stop a person from doing something, for example, assaulting, coming to the house, or destroying property. It cannot order a person to do something, for example attend counselling or an anger management course.

AVOs are sometimes called ‘restraining orders’ because an AVO ‘restrains’ (stops) a person (the defendant) from doing something towards the fearful person (‘the protected person’).  

Getting an AVO

There are two types of AVOs:

Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) are made when the protected person is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the defendant. ‘Domestic relationship’ is broadly defined to include marriage and de facto partnerships, intimate personal relationships, people living in the same household, long term residents in the same residential facility, carers, relatives, extended family or kin in the case of Aboriginal Australians, and people who have both had a domestic relationship with the same person (for example, a victim’s new partner and ex-partner will be deemed to have a domestic relationship even if they have never met because they have both been in a relationship with the same victim). It does not matter whether the relationship is past or current.  

Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs) are made when the protected person and defendant are not in a domestic relationship with each other - for example, neighbours, people who work together, or strangers.

Online book

The Find Legal Answers Tool Kit is a collection of plain English books about the law. You can read them online or at your local public library.

Use the Tool Kit online book below to find information about family violence and AVOs.  

Women and family law

A plain-English guide to family law in NSW, covering a range of topics such as divorce, children, property settlements and AVOs.  

Hot Topics

Hot Topics is a series of short online books about the law.

Hot Topics: Domestic violence

This issue looks at the prevalence of domestic violence and the legal framework that deals with offenders and victims, including AVOs and the court process.  

Useful links  

Legislation  

The law relating to AVOs in NSW is set out in the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007.

Responding to an AVO 

If you have been served with an AVO, there are various steps you can take.

Useful links  

Legislation  

The law relating to AVOs in NSW is set out in the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007.

Getting help

Legal Aid NSW, community legal centres and other organisations may give free legal help to people with a legal problem in NSW.  

Find more sources of help on the Getting help page.

Legal information at the State Library

The Library has a large collection of textbooks, legal commentaries, legal encyclopaedias, databases, journals, legislation and court reports - everything you need for advanced legal research.