What are Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders?

Domestic Violence and Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders


Domestic violence refers to acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship in domestic settings. These acts include physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse. Defining forms of violence, its perpetrators and their victims, is complicated by the many different kinds of intimate and family relationships and living arrangements present in Australian communities. It occurs when a family member uses violent and/or abusive behaviour to control another family member or members. It can include physical, verbal, emotional, economic or sexual abuse. For example, hitting, kicking, punching, choking, damaging property, yelling, insults, threats, bullying, withholding and controlling finances, unwanted sexual acts, forced sex.

Domestic violence is most commonly perpetrated by males against their female partners, but it also includes violence against men by their female partners and violence within same-sex relationships.

What are Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders? Who can apply for one?

An AVO is an Apprehended Violence Order. It is an order to protect victims of domestic violence when they are fearful of future violence or threats to their safety. They are sometimes called restraining orders or protection orders. There are two types of AVOs:

  • Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO): this is made where the people involved are related or have had a domestic or intimate relationship. Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services are funded to assist women in ADVO matters.
  • Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO): this is made where the people involved are not related or do not have a domestic or intimate relationship, for example, they are neighbours, or where a person is being stalked or intimidated by someone.

Is an AVO a criminal offence?

An AVO is not a criminal charge. It is an order for your future protection. An AVO sets out restrictions on the other person’s behaviour, so that you can feel safe. If you have children, the order will also protect them.

Police must make an application for an AVO if the police investigating suspect or believe:

(i)     A domestic violence offence, or an intimidation/stalking offence has, is being or is imminent or likely to be committed, or

(ii)   An offence of Child abuse has, is being or is imminent or likely to be committed, or

(iii) Proceedings for the above offences have been commenced.


It is common practice for police to apply for a provisional apprehended violence order, after having investigated incidents where domestic violence has taken place. To do this, the police need a victim or person in need of protection (PINOP), a witness (but not always necessary) and an alleged perpetrator/offender, and of course an actual act of violence, threat and or intimidation. The provisional order remains in force until midnight on the 28th day unless sooner revoked, withdrawn, dismissed or the court makes a final AVO., A Magistrate or Judge will make a final ruling on whether to enforce the AVO, the duration of such an AVO and the conditions associated with the AVO.

What are the conditions of an AVO?

The court may impose any prohibitions or restrictions on the behaviour as appears necessary or desirable to the court. Three types of conditions that are given are;

  1. Statutory
  2. Prohibitions
  3. Restrictions

For more information on ADVO’s and case studies on some cases we have appeared in, go to:


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