If you fear violence or harassment from your spouse, partner or a work colleague, you should take steps to protect yourself by applying for an Apprehended Violence Order. It is a method of obtaining protection if you are fearful of future violence, including physical or sexual abuse, or threats to your safety, including harassment, intimidation or stalking.
There are two types of Apprehended Violence Orders, or AVOs:
- An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) – this is made where the people involved are related, have a domestic or intimate relationship or have previously been in an intimate relationship. An example is a partner, former spouse or housemate.
- An Apprehended Personal Violence Order – this is made where the people involved are not related or don’t have a domestic or intimate relationship. An example is a neighbour or work colleague.
To apply for an AVO, you can make an application yourself to the Local Court, or the police can make an application on your behalf. If you decide to make a private application, there are various services that will be able to advise and assist you, including Legal Aid NSW, the Domestic Violence Practitioner Scheme or a local Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service. If you contact the police to make the application for an AVO on your behalf and, if they have concerns about your safety prior to the matter being heard in Court, they may urgently obtain a temporary AVO for you.
To get an AVO against someone, you will need to show that there are reasonable grounds for your fear.
All AVOs made by the Court prohibit the person who is causing you fear from the following:
- Assaulting or threatening you;
- Stalking, harassing or intimidating you;
- Intentionally or recklessly destroying or damaging your property; and
- Any other Orders that the Court thinks are necessary for your safety and protection.
Your children can also be included as protected persons on your AVO.
If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of your children, you should contact the police and, if possible, talk to a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer who will be understanding of your situation.