The Court Process

The Newcastle Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (Newcastle WDVCAS) is a locally based, independent service.

Our service is for women and their children seeking information and help about domestic and family violence and how to get protection from the court.

If you are just thinking about what to do and want some information about Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) and other services we can help.

Before Court

If you have a domestic violence case which is going to court and you want to know what will happen, we can provide you with information about the court process as well as referrals to other agencies for assistance.

At Court

We give you practical information such as how to find the court, where to go when you arrive, and we will make sure you have a safe place to sit at court.

Once there we will liaise with Police, Solicitors, Court Staff and other support workers on a your behalf.

We will also help you understand what is happening, and work with you to get an order that is best for your situation.

Our aim is that your experience as little stress as possible when attending court.

After Court

After Court we can refer you to other services that can help you with housing, income support, children’s needs, family law and counselling.

We can provide you with information about what to do if abuse continues.

Court Orders

An AVO is an Apprehended Violence Order. It is an order to protect victims of domestic violence when they are fearful of violence or are experiencing threats to their safety.

There are two types of AVOs:

  • Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO). This is made where the people involved are related or have a domestic intimate relationship
  • Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO). This is made where the people are not related or do not have a domestic intimate relationship such as neighbours or where someone is being stalked. Our service does not support APVO matters.

An AVO is not a criminal charge. It is an order for your future protection. It sets out restrictions on the other persons behaviour so that you can feel safer. If you have children, the order will protect them.

We can provide information to assist you in situations where the other person has been charged with an offence.


Newcastle Women’s Domestic Violence Country Advocacy Services (NWDVCAS) are a local, community based organisation in the Hunter Region of NSW.

We do not provide legal advice but can help you in many other ways. We can:

  • Support you and provide a safe place for you to wait while you’re at court
  • Give you information about court and AVOs, if you wish, where possible, have an Aboriginal worker to help you
  • Help you talk with the gunjies or your lawyer
  • Put you in touch with other support services and legal advice. In a Number of courts, Legal Aid NSW provides lawyers who can give you free, independent legal advice.

An AVO is an order made by the court telling a person to stop hurting or harrassing you.

An AVO can also include your kids and other members of your family.

An AVO is not a criminal charge.

Call the police on triple zero (000) If your AVO is breached by the defendant. Tell the gunjies you have an AVO.

There are two ways you can get an AVO:

  1. You can apply at a Local Court. This is called a private application. NWDVCAS, Local Court staff or your lawyer can help you.
  2. Gunjies can apply on your behalf. There are specifically trained domestic voilence Gunjies call Domestic Voilence Liason Officers DVLO’s.


NWDVCAS will support you. It can be more than one visit to court to obtain an AVO.

A magistrate can excuse you from attending court but it is better if you are there on the day.

No one knows your matter better than you so make sure the court gets all of your information.


AVOs can be made to allow you to keep living with your partner.

You can ask to withdraw your AVO.

The NWDVCAS can help you understand how this works. You will need to tell the reasons why you want to withdraw.