Australian Institute of Criminology

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Domestic violence order offenders

Crime facts info no. 136

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, November 2006

A domestic violence order (DVO) is issued, generally by a magistrate, as a lawful direction restraining what a family or defacto family member may do in respect of one or more other family members. DVOs are separate from other types of restraining order and are targeted at violent behaviour. It is not an offence to be subject to a restraining order, but it is unlawful to breach the order. The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program collects data from police detainees in 9 sites across Australia. The following graph shows that all age groups of adult males who have been detained and charged contain a proportion whose current charges include breaching a DVO, whether as the most serious offence or a lesser charge. Overall, 3.4 percent of male detainees at DUMA sites have been charged with breaching a DVO, but there is an increasing trend with age. In the youngest age group (18-20 years), only 1.2 % of detainees have been charged with such an offence, while the proportion in older males (36 years and older) is 5.2%, or four and a half times as many. A recent Australian Federal Police report found that 12% of attendances at domestic violence incidents in the ACT resulted in a breach DVO charge (Taylor 2006).

Offenders who breached a DVO, by age group, adult males, 1999-2005 (percent)

Note: Breach DVO offenders n = 536, Other offenders n=15, 632

Source: AIC, DUMA collection 1999-2005 [computer file]

  • Taylor N 2006. Analysis of family violence incidents: July 2003 - June 2004: final report.
  • Commissioned report. Canberra: Australian Federal Police. http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/reports/2006-06-fv.html