This post deals with domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers.
Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, police and ambulance paramedics swarmed on an address in Como, a leafy suburb in Sydney's south.
Residents had reported a woman's body laying on the driveway of an apartment complex. She had suffered extensive wounds, and though several neighbours tried to revive her, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Watch: Violence against women, the hidden numbers.
That woman was Lynda Greenwood (pictured above), a 39-year-old who's been described as "kind, friendly and generous", by those who knew her.
Her life was allegedly taken by an ex partner, a 39-year-old man who has since been charged with her murder.
Police confirmed domestic violence incidents involving the pair had been recorded in 2019, and that Lynda had an active Apprehended Violence Order against him at the time of her death.
That detail has revived discussion about the effectiveness of AVOs.
The same debate happened in February, following the murder of Queensland woman Hannah Clarke and her children at the hands of her estranged husband. And after the killing of Kamaljeet Sidhu, and Sarah Brown, and Luke Batty, and in several other high-profile cases in which people were killed while under the supposed protection of the courts.
So how do AVOs work? And do they actually prevent harassment and violence, or are they (as so many critics claim) just a 'useless piece of paper'?
Let's take a look.
What exactly is an AVO?
An AVO is a court order designed to protect a person and their dependants from harassment or violence by a specific individual.
They are known by different names in different states, including intervention orders, restraining orders and protection orders.
AVOs typically take two forms: personal AVOs, which apply to non-domestic relationships like neighbours and colleagues; and domestic AVOs, which apply to current- or ex-partners, carers, relatives and so on.
The latter are enforceable Australia-wide, regardless of the state or territory in which they were obtained. But there's a catch: that only applies to orders issued since November 2017, when the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme was introduced. Otherwise, AVO holders who cross a border must apply to that state's court to have their order recognised.