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Is an AVO or an ADVO a Criminal Record?

Is an AVO or an ADVO a Criminal Record?

Is an AVO or an ADVO a Criminal Record?

If you receive a Final Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) you are not given a criminal record. However, AVOs can have many other unforeseen consequences, it will not show up on a police background check, such as a national police check.

What is an Apprehended Violence Order?

The court under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (in NSW) can impose an AVO order to protect the applicant if they conclude a reason of fear, apprehension, or imminent violence against them.

When the court imposes an AVO order against you, you must abide by all the conditions. If you breach or partake in any action that contravenes the order, you will face stiff penalties and be charged for the offence.

If a final order is made against me, how will it affect me?

If there is a final order, it may affect you in the following way;

  • ability to work with children
  • security licence
  • firearms licence
  • your visa
  • where you live
  • your job.
Offences that will show on a criminal record

A conviction for a criminal charge that is related to domestic violence will be on a criminal record.

Police will often issue an AVO as well as charge you with a domestic violence-related offence. This can include common assault, damage to property or intimidation. As a result, if you are convicted, it will appear on your record.

Similarly, the AVO can appear on your record if it is breached. For example, the AVO may require you to not contact a person within 12 hours of consuming drugs or alcohol. Police can then charge you with contravening or breaching AVO. Therefore, if you are convicted the charge will show on your record.

Can I defend AVO proceedings against me?

Yes, you can defend the proceedings in court. The AVO proceedings can be defended and dismissed in the following circumstances;

  • The court can dismiss the AVO if the protected person or police (or defendant and another side) fail to comply with the court orders to serve their evidence on time.
  • The court can dismiss the AVO if the protected person doesn’t appear on the hearing day in court.
  • The court can dismiss the AVO if the court is convinced there’s insufficient evidence to prove the allegations i.e. of personal violence, intimidation or stalking conduct.
  • The court will dismiss the AVO if it forms the view that on balance, either the applicant has no reasonable basis to fear, and doesn’t fear the defendant committing a personal violence offence or intimidation or stalking conduct; and/or if the court forms the view that the AVO orders are not necessary for the protection & safety of the protected person(s).
Can I apply to revoke or vary an AVO?

Revoking an AVO means removing it. To change the conditions (or orders) of an avo is to vary it.

You can apply to revoke or vary an AVO simply by applying to the local court under Division 5 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW).

A court can revoke or vary an AVO if:

  • Circumstances on which the AVO was initially based on has since changed; and
  • The application to vary or revoke it is not like an appeal; and
  • It is proper in all the circumstances to revoke or vary the AVO (only applies to private AVOs); and
  • A notice of the application has been served to the protected person named in the avo (if the protected person is making the application, then the protected person must also serve a copy of the application to the defendant; for police AVOs, a copy of the application must also be served to the commissioner of police); and
  • The application must be served personally to the other party or in a manner the court directs.
Can I appeal a final order for an AVO?

Yes, there are two main types of AVO appeals in NSW. The first is an appeal to the District Court, and the second is a review by way of an annulment of the local court’s decision to make or dismiss the avo application.


  • Mohammad Khan | Criminal Defence Lawyer

    Mohammad Khan is the Principal Solicitor of Lyons Law Group. After graduating with a Bachelor of Aviation from the University of New South Wales, Mohammad took a keen interest in the law. He began training in criminal law under the tutelage of Australia’s leading criminal lawyer Adam Houda and studied law at the University of Sydney.