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An apprehended violence order (AVO) is a court order against a violent person. Usually, the court makes the AVO, but there are also instances when the police make the order. The ruling protects the victim from future harassment and violence from the other party, otherwise known as the defendant.

There are two types of AVOs: apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) and apprehended personal violence order (APVO). The application for apprehended domestic violence order may be made if the parties involved are related, living together, or in a domestic relationship. On the other hand, an application for apprehended personal violence order may be made if the parties involved aren’t related to each other, for example, workmates or neighbours.


In case you’re served with an application for an AVO, you have to respond. However, if you have no idea how to go about it, here’s how you can respond and protect yourself against an apprehended violence order:

  1. Request For Adjournment

An adjournment is a formal procedure that postpones or suspends the case indefinitely to a later date. As the defendant, you may want to request an adjournment to prepare your case, get an attorney, or if you won’t be available at the set date and time.

You can ask for an adjournment during your first mention or before your first hearing, but it’s best to write a letter to the court requesting an adjournment. This will give you enough time to build your defence case accordingly. Below are some things to consider when writing your request:

  • Indicate why you’re registering (to bid for adjournment of the review hearing set for a particular date and time).
  • Write a summary of the events that lead to the order.
  • Include your reasons for asking for an adjournment.


  1. Hire A Defence Attorney

You may consider hiring a defence or criminal lawyer to help with your proceedings because such charges can leave a dent in your professional and personal life. A defence attorney will advise you on your circumstances and the various tactics you could use to defend yourself against the order. They’ll also know whether or not you should file an application to vary or revoke apprehended violence order.

Another reason you should consider getting yourself a lawyer is that a police prosecutor will represent the plaintiff when it’s the police that made the AVO on their behalf. A reasonable attorney will fight on your behalf and help you win the case.

  1. Provide An Undertaking

An undertaking is an official promise or pledges to do or not do something. An undertaking made to the court is binding as a court order, and there will be consequences if you breach the order. Some people confuse undertakings and restraining orders, but they differ because the court can adjust undertakings to terms you agree upon by both parties, while restraining orders are constant.

You may want to give an official promise to the court to stop whatever behaviour makes the plaintiff fear you. You may have to give an undertaking that you’ll not:

  • Have prohibited weapons or firearms
  • Contact the plaintiff in the absence of a lawyer
  • Go near the protected person


  1. Plead Not Guilty

If it wasn’t your intention to commit the offence, your best card is pleading not guilty. The police or the plaintiff must prove that you knowingly committed this offence for you to be charged. Without the proof, you’ll be found ‘not guilty,’ and the charges will be dropped. However, if found guilty, there are specific measures you could take to defend yourself. They include:

  • A Cross Application: When you make a cross-application, you’re applying for an apprehended violence order against the plaintiff/protected person. The application is treated like other AVO, and you, as the cross-applicant, will also have to prove that you fear the cross-defendant (the one protected and applicant of the original AVO) and that there are genuine reasons to fear them. However, you should consult your lawyer before you make a cross-application.
  • Revoke Or Vary The AVO: The defendant, the police, or the applicant can vary or revoke the AVO if they’re not happy with the reading. To do this, you must fill out an application to vary or revoke apprehended violence order form with the court. You also have the choice to go to a different court from the one which gave the final AVO. Other conditions that can be changed are the following:
    • Add orders
    • Reduce or extend the AVO duration
    • Change, add, or delete orders
  • Annul The AVO: You can only annul the AVO if the final order was made against you when you were not in court within two years. Consult with your attorney before you make an annulment to confirm the costs, whether or not you have a strong case, and how to make your presentation.



You may receive an apprehended violence order if you’ve violated or made someone fill unsafe whenever you’re around them. It could be someone you have a personal relationship with, a relative, neighbour, or friend. There are several ways discussed that you can use to defend yourself against such allegations. Ensure you have a qualified defence to guide you through the process.

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