Reducing domestic violence

  • One woman, on average, is killed by domestic violence every week in Australia[1]

  • 27 people died as a result of domestic violence in the 12 months to September 2016 in NSW[2]

  • For women aged 15 to 45, domestic violence is a leading contributor of ill-health and premature death[3]

Domestic violence is a huge issue in NSW. The Department of Justice reached out to us to see if behavioural insights could be used to reduce domestic violence in NSW.

Department of Justice asked us to look at was improving defendant’s compliance with apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs).  

ADVOs are issued to protect victims of domestic violence from future violence, intimidation or harassment. In 2015, nearly 27,000 ADVO were issued in NSW[4].

We spent time building an understanding of issues facing defendants in complying with ADVOs and their understanding of the current orders and process.

Our research revealed that defendants and victims did not understand the ADVOs. This finding is consistent with observations from agencies and services that defendants and victims often do not understand the full implications of their ADVOs.

Based on these findings, we made the ADVOs easier to understand. We:

  • simplified the language

  • used examples of what the orders meant, such as not contacting the victim by social media

  • personalised the orders, referring to people by name

  • highlighted the consequences of breaking the order

  • included information on the impact of domestic and family violence.

The new ADVO have been rolled-out across NSW in December 2016. They are also being translated into different languages and an accessible version is being created.


  1. Source: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2015
  2. Source:  NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
  3. Source: Victoria Health
  4. Mapping rates of Appended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs)”, Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, NSW Government.