Aims: To identify levels of Australian rural general practitioners' apprehension about violence, factors effecting apprehension and the effect of apprehension on service provision. Method: Six focus groups were held with rural GPs from Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. A questionnaire was developed on the basis of the focus group data and all GPs in these three areas were surveyed. Results: The results indicated GPs were more apprehensive about providing after hours care than during business hours. Significant gender differences were found with women being more often apprehensive than men and more likely to withdraw after hours services. Conclusion: This study shows that that levels of apprehension about violence affect GPs' willingness to provide after hours services. Future provision of general practice after hours services and home visits in rural areas requires the availability of a safe working environment to reduce GPs' apprehension about workplace violence. What Is Already Known: Overseas research has shown that many GPs are apprehensive about workplace violence and that female GPs are more likely to be apprehensive about it than male GPs. No Australian studies about GPs' levels of apprehension about workplace violence have previously been undertaken. What this study adds: This study showed that many Australian rural GP respondents feel apprehensive about work-related violence especially after hours and when undertaking home visits after hours. Female respondents were significantly more likely to feel apprehensive about workplace violence than male respondents and to make changes to services because of the risk of violence than male GPs, most commonly by not providing services such as home visits or after hours surgery attendances.