What is Family Violence?

Family violence is defined in the Family Law Act as violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family, or causes the family member to be fearful.

Examples of behaviour that may constitute family violence include (but are not limited to):

  • an assault;
  • a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour;
  • stalking;
  • repeated derogatory taunts;
  • intentionally damaging or destroying property;
  • intentionally causing death or injury to an animal;
  • unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had;
  • 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;
  • preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture; or
  • unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member’s family, of his or her liberty.

A child is considered to have been exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence.

If a family member has been the victim of family violence, or a child has been exposed to family violence, it is considered by the court when making decisions about what is in a child’s best interests. A finding of family violence may affect a person’s parental responsibility and the circumstances under which they spend time with children.

If you or your child have been exposed to family violence, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your concerns and options for ensuring your safety. You may also find our information on domestic violence helpful.  If your situation is urgent or life threatening, please call the Police immediately on 000.