Getting an apprehended violence order

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a court order that prohibits a person from doing certain acts to ensure the safety of another person. Every AVO will automatically order that your perpetrator does not assault, molest, threaten, harass, intimidate or stalk you. In addition, the Magistrate may make other orders appropriate to your circumstances, for example that the violent person must not approach you or carry any firearms.

An AVO itself does not result in a criminal record. However, breaching an AVO is a criminal offence and the police can arrest and charge the person.

Getting an AVO does not necessarily mean that the perpetrator has to leave the house. However, you can get a final AVO with an exclusion order, which means that the housemate is excluded from the house, even if they would otherwise have a right to be there.

In certain circumstances you may choose to apply for a final AVO with an exclusion order, for example if there has been violence against you and you want to stay and take over the lease, but the perpetrator refuses to move out and end their part of the tenancy.

If the perpetrator agrees to the orders being made, the Magistrate can make the final order on the day of the mention. If the perpetrator disagrees, the matter will be scheduled for hearing at a later date, and an interim order can be made for your protection in the meantime.

If you need to leave the tenancy because of domestic violence and are eligible for public housing, you can apply to Housing NSW for emergency housing. For advice about what you should do in these situations, contact your local tenants’ advice service or community legal centre (see Contact Points).

Getting financial help

If you’re struggling with paying rent, Housing NSW can provide Rentstart to help you establish or maintain private rental if you meet certain eligibility criteria.

Housing NSW may also be able to provide you with priority housing if private rental is unsuitable for you. It also has a Start Safely Subsidy, which provides short to medium term financial help to women who have experienced domestic violence to secure private rental accommodation. Contact local Housing NSW office or your local tenants’ advice service for eligibility details (see Contact Points).