Divorce & separation
People in Australia have different ideas about what type of behaviour constitutes family violence or domestic violence.
Family violence in the context of Australian family law 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. 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.
A child is exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence. 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.
Abuse in relation to a child, means:
(a) An assault, including a sexual assault, of the child; or
(b) A person involving the child in a sexual activity in which the child is used, directly or indirectly, as a sexual object, and where there is unequal power in the relationship between the child and the person; or
(c) Causing the child to suffer serious psychological harm, including (but not limited to) when that harm is caused by the child being subjected to, or exposed to, family violence; or
(d) serious neglect of the child.
If you or one of your children are experiencing family violence, you can call Crisis Care on 1800 199 008. Crisis Care operates 7 days a week and provides after hours response to reported concerns for a child’s safety and wellbeing, and telephone information and referrals for people experiencing crisis. Telephone Crisis Care when you are concerned about the wellbeing of a child, you are escaping domestic violence and need help, or you are homeless.
For telephone, text and online chat counselling contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you would like to discuss your personal circumstances regarding family violence, please feel welcome to contact one of our family lawyers for a discrete discussion by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 08 6141 3227.