What is family violence?

Family violence (or domestic violence) occurs where a person uses violent and/or abusive behaviour to control another person who they have some type of 'family' relationship.

Despite what is commonly believed, family violence is not limited to relationships between husbands, wives and their children. It also includes violence between defacto couples, gay and lesbian couples, boyfriends and girlfriends and the extended family (relatives) of those couples, including step-children and adopted children.

Family violence may include, but is not limited to, criminal behaviours such as:

  • assault (slapping, punching, kicking, grabbing, pushing)
  • threats to physically harm a person
  • confining a person against their will
  • sexual assault
  • child abuse or neglect
  • damage to another person’s property
  • stalking
  • breach of a Domestic Violence Order or a Protection Order
  • harm to a person’s pet or threats to harm.

Behaviours which are considered family violence but may not be a criminal offence include:

  • harassing or intimidating behaviour
  • verbal or emotional abuse (name calling, humiliation, making another person feel worthless, insults) financial abuse (withholding and/or controlling finances).

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