Author Suzanne Poynton
Published March 2012
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 161
Subject Apprehended violence orders (AVOs)
Keywords Apprehended Personal Violence Order, Apprehended Violence Order, frivolous, vexatious, survey.



To establish whether frivolous or vexatious Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVO) are common in NSW and, if so, the circumstances under which they arise.


Online survey of 210 NSW magistrates and registrars.


Over two-thirds of magistrates and registrars surveyed reported that frivolous or vexatious APVO applications never, rarely or only occasionally occur, while just one in ten survey participants reported that they frequently deal with these types of matters. Magistrates and registrars reported that frivolous or vexatious APVO applications typically involve trivial/insignificant matters or a single act of harassment, and that the dispute is most often between neighbours or acquaintances/former friends.


Despite recent media reports claiming that APVOs are overused and abused in NSW, the current study suggests that only a small proportion of APVO applications are frivolous or vexatious in nature.