Apprehended Violence Order

In NSW, Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) are provided for in the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) (“the Act”).

AVOs take one of two forms, either an:

  • Apprehended personal violence order; or
  • Apprehended domestic violence order.

An ‘apprehended domestic violence order’ is an AVO involving parties in a domestic relationship (“ADVO”). An apprehended personal violence order, on the other hand, requires no such relationship.

By section 19 of the Act:

(1) A court may, on application, make an apprehended personal violence order if it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a person has reasonable grounds to fear and in fact fears:

(a) the commission by the other person of a personal violence offence against the person, or

(b) the engagement of the other person in conduct in which the other person:

(i) intimidates the person, or

(ii) stalks the person,

being conduct that, in the opinion of the court, is sufficient to warrant the making of the order.

The Act lists those offences which constitute a ‘personal violence offence’, including and for example, assault.

In turn, intimidation is defined in section 7 of the Act as:

(a) conduct amounting to harassment or molestation of the person, or

(b) an approach made to the person by any means (including by telephone, telephone text messaging, e-mailing and other technologically assisted means) that causes the person to fear for his or her safety, or

(c) any conduct that causes a reasonable apprehension of injury to a person or to a person with whom he or she has a domestic relationship, or of violence or damage to any person or property.

Section 8 of the Act defines ‘stalking’ to include:

the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to, a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for the purposes of any social or leisure activity.

Stated somewhat simply, a court may order an ADVO where conduct which would amount to a personal violence order, e.g. intimidation and/or stalking (see above), occurs between an offender and victim who are in a domestic relationship.

Police may choose to run an AVO application even where an alleged victim instructs them not to do so. In other words, the police may run an AVO application to hearing even when a person who complains to the police of domestic violence subsequently states they don’t wish an order to be made against the person about whom they’ve complained.

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