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Media Release - Review of Apprehended Violence Orders (13 December 2002)

Are apprehended violence orders (AVOs) working effectively? This is one of the questions asked by the NSW Law Reform Commission in a Discussion Paper(DP 45) released today.

AVOs are part of the legal system aimed at preventing domestic and personal violence and are generally regarded as effective. However, legislation currently requires a review two years after the passing of the last significant amendments to the system in 1999.

Among the issues raised in the Discussion paper are concerns about the increasing use of personal AVOs, for example, in relation to schoolyard, classroom and neighbourhood disputes.

"There are concerns that apparently "frivolous" or "vindictive" use of apprehended violence orders in these sort of community disputes detracts from cases where people have genuine reasons to fear personal violence or abuse" said Commissioner-in-charge of the review, Professor Michael Tilbury.

The review will cover all aspects of the operation of apprehended violence orders, including:

  • the validity of the objectives of the AVO provisions;
  • the scope of the provisions;
  • how applications for AVOs can be made; and
  • what happens when someone breaches an AVO.

"Unfortunately, domestic and other forms of violence are not yet a thing of the past. It is important to continue reforming and fine-tuning the law to meet the needs of those affected by such violence while maintaining the correct balance between providing protection and controlling abuse of the system" said Professor Tilbury.

The Commission would like to hear from interested groups and members of the public, particularly those who have had personal experience of AVOs.

Free copies of the Discussion Paper may be obtained from the Commission on (02) 9228 8230 or from the Commission's website: <>

Media enquiries:

Professor Michael Tilbury, Commissioner-in-charge: (02) 9228 8230
Ms Donna Hayward, Senior Legal Officer: (02) 9228 8230