Domestic violence is an issue of widespread concern across Australia and abroad. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated that nearly 20 per cent of Australian adult women have experienced partner violence since the age of 15 (ABS, 2013). One of the primary means by which the criminal justice system seeks to reduce the incidence of domestic and family violence in Australian jurisdictions is Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs).
In the year to June 2015 there were 37,690 persons protected by a final apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) in NSW. ADVOs are intended to protect individuals who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, domestic violence (Trimboli 2015).
The map below shows the residential locations of persons protected by ADVOs in the 12 months to June 2015*. The areas with the highest rates of protected persons are located in the north western area of NSW. The incident counts and rates for each Local Government Area can be found in the table below.
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Legislative changes coming into force in 2008 under section 38(2) of the Crimes
(Domestic & Personal Violence) Act 2007 No. 40 made it mandatory for
children having a domestic relationship with an adult protected by an AVO to
also be named as a protected person on the order. Prior to this change, it was
at the discretion of the police officer as to whether or not to include the
child's details on the order.
In NSW, AVOs are granted in the Local Court under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. An order granted by the court contains three mandatory conditions with which the defendant must comply; (1) not to assault, harass or threaten the protected person, (2) not to intimidate the protected person and (3) not to stalk the protected person (see Part 8 Section 36) (Napier et al. 2015). The court may impose a number of additional prohibitions or restrictions on the behaviour of the defendant if they deem them necessary to protect the person or any children involved (see Part 8 section 35). The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 also differentiates between AVOs of a personal and domestic nature. AVOs of a domestic nature (ADVOs), relate to orders where the person in need of protection has a domestic relationship with the defendant (e.g., spouse, ex-spouse, defacto, relative, or someone living in the same household).
For the vast majority of victims, ADVOs are effective in reducing, or even eliminating negative behaviours such as physical assault, threats of physical assault, stalking, verbal abuse and intimidation, even when the victim maintains contact with the defendant (Trimboli 2015).
Personal and domestic AVO incident counts and rates by
the alleged offenders statistical area of residence for 2001 to 2014 are available in this
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012 (ABS: Cat. No. 4906.0). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Trimboli, L. (2015). Persons convicted of breaching Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders: Their characteristics and penalties (Bureau Brief No.102).
Napier, S., Poynton, S., & Fitzgerald, J. (2015). Who goes to prison for breaching an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order? An Analysis of police narratives (Bureau Brief No. 107).