Apprehended domestic violence orders

Domestic violence

What is an apprehended domestic violence order?

An apprehended domestic violence order, or 'ADVO' is made to protect people who are currently (or were) in a domestic or intimate relationship, have experienced violence in that relationship, and fear future violence or threats to their safety.

The order can be issued and enforced by either the police or a court and is sometimes called a ‘restraining order’ or ‘protection order’.

An order restricts the behaviour of the person (the defendant) who causes you (the protected person) to fear for your safety. All orders have conditions to prevent the defendant from assaulting, harassing, threatening, stalking and intimidating you and any other people you ask to be included in the order who need protection, such as your children.

You can ask the court for other restrictions to be included so that the defendant does not:

  • enter, remain or access any place where you live or work
  • contact you directly (by text message, phone call or email)
  • contact you through another person
  • contact you while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • approach you.

An order is made for a defined period of time, often 12 months. In certain circumstances, an application may be made at a later date to extend the time period. An order is not a criminal charge unless it is breached by the defendant.

How to get an ADVO

To get an order you can make a statement to the police or make an appointment with the local court registrar.

Make a statement to the police

If the police are concerned for your immediate safety, they will apply for a provisional apprehended domestic violence order on your behalf. To provide you with immediate protection, police can detain the defendant to serve the order.

A police prosecutor will act on your behalf when you attend court on the next available list day for apprehended domestic violence orders.

You may also be invited to a 'prosecutor clinic’ at your local court where you will be helped to understand and feel more comfortable with the court process.

Make an appointment with the local court registrar

You can request an interim order if you are concerned for your immediate safety. You can either contact a solicitor or represent yourself in court.

The application for an apprehended domestic violence order contains:

  • the reason why you need the order
  • a notice directing the defendant to attend court (‘served’ to them in person by a police officer)
  • a list of the conditions that the court is being asked to make, which the offender must abide by.

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Last updated: Wednesday, 20 July 2016