Former White Ribbon Chairman and TV Host Faces Domestic Violence Charges

Poppy Morandin and Jimmy Singh.


The host of ‘The Chase Australia’ and former White Ribbon chairman, Andrew O’Keefe, will face court following being charged by police over an alleged domestic assault.

The assault against his partner, Orly Lavee, allegedly occurred at an apartment in Randwick prior to 1am.

Police arrested 49-year-old O’Keefe hours later on a nearby street at around 3:30am.

He was taken to Maroubra police station and was subsequently charged with common assault.

An Apprehended domestic violence order (AVO) was also put in place between the pair, with O’Keefe now unable to contact Lavee, except via a lawyer.

Furthermore, conditions prevent him from assaulting, molesting, stalking, harassing, or intimidating her.

He is also prohibited from attending her workplace or her unit and intentionally or recklessly destroying any property in her possession.

O’Keefe will face Waverley Local Court regarding the incident shortly.

He has spent over 17 years on Australian TVs on shows such as Deal or No Deal, Weekend Sunrise and most recently, The Chase.

During his time as Chairman of the White Ribbon Australia, O’Keefe campaigned to stop violence against women.

He was a founding member and served as Chairman in 2017, prior to the charity’s liquidation in 2019.

The motto of the organisation was ‘Men Working to End Men’s Violence against Women’.

It has since been subject to acquisition by Communicare, a Perth-based domestic violence charity.

“Violence against women is so normalised in this country. Our footy commentators do it, our favourite actors do it, musos and sportsmen and CEOs……every kind of public figure imaginable, and orgs like this are still what passes for advocacy.” stated writer, Anna Spargo-Ryan.

“It doesn’t matter that White Ribbon went into liquidation/rebranded/is different now, by the way. The fact remains that people on the receiving end of gendered violence have spent years watching it be upheld as the best Australia had to offer.” she continued.

“We are saddened to hear that Andrew O’Keefe has been arrested and charged with allegedly assaulting a woman, Dr Orly Lavee. We stand in solidarity with every victim survivor of men’s violence against women and believe men who use violence must be held to account.” commented White Ribbon Australia.

The organisation has experienced a multitude of like scandals, including when former Canterbury Bulldogs star, Hazem El Masri faced accusations of domestic violence.

El Masri was a former White Ribbon Day ambassador, and used the publicity caused when the charges against him were dropped, to urge victims to speak out.

“I want to urge every lady, man, child, any person out there who is subjected to domestic violence to make sure they report it. The justice system is there to protect us.” he commented.

Allegations involving two assault offences against his second wife were formally dropped, supposedly due to Ms El Charif admitting in a recorded phone call that the allegations of domestic violence were false.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an estimated one in six Australian women aged 18 years and over experienced partner violence since the age of 15.

The rate of domestic violence related offences has remained stable over the past 60 months.

A domestic violence offence is defined as an offence committed by a person against another person with whom the person who commits the offence has (or has had) a domestic relationship by section 11 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW).

It is classified as a domestic violence offence only if the offence is considered a personal violence offence i.e. stalk or intimidate, assault or destroy/damage property.

Personal violence offences include common assault, wounding or causing grievous bodily harm, sexual assault, sexual touching, destroying, or damaging property, strangulation, and breaching an AVO, among others.

A ‘domestic relationship’ can include relatives, married couples, de facto partners and even housemates.

Common assault, although not occasioning actual bodily harm, is punishable with a maximum penalty of two years in jail, pursuant to section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Actual bodily harm entails an injury that need not be permanent, but more than merely transient or trifling (R v Donovan [1934] 2 KB 498).

This article is uniquely written by our in-house domestic violence lawyer.

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