Under changes to the law anyone who makes a false allegation in an application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) will soon face being charged with a criminal offence which will carry penalties of a fine of up to $1,100 and up to 12 months in prison.

This criminal offence will only relate to personal AVOs where the victim is not in a domestic relationship with the perpetrator. The intention is to reduce the amount of AVOs being sought on false grounds and being used as a means of personal retribution.

Other changes to AVO laws include a requirement for the courts to refer all personal AVOs to mediation, unless there are good reasons not to, and allowing Police to direct or detain people in domestic AVOs for the purpose of serving the order.