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On Sunday, 22 February 2015, the Governor, His Excellency, the Hon. Alex Chernov AC QC, signed the letters patent appointing former Justice Marcia Neave AO as Commissioner and Patricia Faulkner AO and Tony Nicholson as Deputy Commissioners to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

In keeping with its terms of reference, the Royal Commission aimed to make recommendations which:

  • foster a violence-free society
  • reduce and aim to eliminate family violence
  • prevent the occurrence and escalation of family violence
  • build respectful family relationships
  • increase awareness of the extent and effects of family violence
  • reinforce community rejection of the use of family violence
  • ensure the safety of people who are or may be affected by family violence, by:
    • facilitating early intervention before violence occurs
    • providing fast, effective responses to those who report family violence
    • providing effective protections to adults and children who have been affected by family violence in the past, and remain at risk of family violence
  • support adults and children who have been affected by family violence
  • hold those who have been violent accountable for their actions
  • help people who use or may use family violence to change their behaviour.
The Royal Commission provided its report and recommendations to the government on Tuesday, 29 March 2016.

For information about our processes, download our  How We Work document.

Our Commissioners

The Royal Commission into Family Violence was chaired by the Honourable Marcia Neave AO, formerly Justice of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria. Patricia Faulkner AO and Tony Nicholson served as Deputy Commissioners.




The Honourable Marcia Neave AO was a judge of the Court of Appeal until her appointment as the Chair of the Royal Commission into Family Violence in February 2015.

Commissioner Neave has been a professor at three Australian universities and has always had an interest in the way the law responds to the needs of women.  She taught family law at Monash University.

She was the foundation Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission which worked on projects including Defences to Homicide, Sexual Offences and Reproductive Technology.  In the early 1980s she was Research Director and a part-time Commissioner at the New South Wales Law Reform Commission.


Deputy Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner Patricia Faulkner AO is the current Chair of Jesuit Social Services and Deputy Chair of St Vincent’s Health Australia.  Both these organisations seek to serve vulnerable Australians.

Patricia is a former Chair of the Prime Minister’s Social Inclusion Board and Secretary of the Victorian Department of Human Services.

Much of Patricia’s career has been devoted to looking for better ways to improve outcomes for people who are excluded by poverty, illness and lack of resources.

Patricia was a part-time Deputy Commissioner.


Deputy Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner Tony Nicholson has dedicated over 30 years to improving conditions of those living on or close to the edges of society.

Tony is currently Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne where he brings a strong record of service development and innovation, research and policy analysis and compelling advocacy on behalf of those disadvantaged in our community.

Tony has held many roles including Chair of the Prime Minister's Council on Homelessness.

Tony was a part-time Deputy Commissioner.