What is Family Violence / Domestic Violence?
Various laws attempt to define Family Violence or Domestic Violence.
The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
The Australian Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) has a definition of Family Violence for the purposes of the Family Law Act. Section 4AB says:
(1) For the purposes of this Act, family violence means violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family (the family member), or causes the family member to be fearful.
(2) Examples of behaviour that may constitute family violence include (but are not limited to):
(a) an assault; or
(b) a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; or
(c) stalking; or
(d) repeated derogatory taunts; or
(e) intentionally damaging or destroying property; or
(f) intentionally causing death or injury to an animal; or
(g) unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had; or
(h) unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member, or his or her child, at a time when the family member is entirely or predominantly dependent on the person for financial support; or
(i) preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture; or
(j) unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member’s family, of his or her liberty.
(3) For the purposes of this Act, a child is exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence.
(4) Examples of situations that may constitute a child being exposed to family violence include (but are not limited to) the child:
(a) overhearing threats of death or personal injury by a member of the child’s family towards another member of the child’s family; or
(b) seeing or hearing an assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family; or
(c) comforting or providing assistance to a member of the child’s family who has been assaulted by another member of the child’s family; or
(d) cleaning up a site after a member of the child’s family has intentionally damaged property of another member of the child’s family; or
(e) being present when police or ambulance officers attend an incident involving the assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family.
Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act 2008 (ACT)
The Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act 2008 (ACT) provides a definition of Domestic Violence at section 13.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PROTECTION ORDERS ACT 2008 – SECT 13
What is domestic violence etc?
(1) For this Act, a person’s conduct is domestic violence if it—
(a) causes physical or personal injury to a relevant person; or
(b) causes damage to the property of a relevant person; or
(c) is directed at a relevant person and is a domestic violence offence; or
(d) is a threat, made to a relevant person, to do anything in relation to the relevant person or another relevant person that, if done, would fall under paragraph (a), (b) or (c); or
(e) is harassing or offensive to a relevant person; or
(f) is directed at a pet of a relevant person and is an animal violence offence; or
(g) is a threat, made to a relevant person, to do anything to a pet of the person or another relevant person that, if done, would be an animal violence offence.
Other definitions of Domestic Violence and Family Violence
There are many different forms of Domestic Violence, Family Violence, and Personal Violence and the law is starting to catch up to the breadth of various forms of violence.
If you require urgent or crisis assistance, call the Domestic Violence Crisis Service –
DVCS CRISIS NUMBER: 62800900 (24hours).
You can call at any time of day or night.
Please note that the above information is correct at the time of publication but it is subject to change including amendments to the various Acts. No reliance should be made on the above and you should seek legal advice.