What behaviour amounts to Family Violence

Family Violence Domestic Violence | DIY Family Law Australia

When do Courts say Family Violence has occurred

If you have been or are being subjected to Family Violence or know someone who you have concerns for, then if it is physical acts that are being committed it may be obvious that is what is occurring is what the courts will call "Family Violence", but emotional abuse and more subtle behaviour can also constitute Family Violence.

There are many different types of Family and Domestic Violence. They include physical, emotional, economic and social. It can affect someone of any age.

Family or Domestic Violence is usually about power and control and there are many ways a person can exhibit controlling behaviour.

Some examples of behaviour that may constitute Family Violence include:

  • unreasonably denying the financial autonomy (or financial independence) that you would otherwise have had;
  • unreasonably withholding financial support you need to meet the reasonable living expenses of either yourself or your child, at a time when you are dependent on the person for financial support;
  • preventing you from making or keeping connections with your family, friends or culture;
  • unlawfully depriving you, or any member of your family, your liberty or freedom;
  • stalking;
  • repeated derogatory taunts;
  • intentionally damaging or destroying property on one or more occasions;
  • intentionally causing death or injury to an animal on one or more occasions or threatening to do so;
  • a single physical assault (or repeated acts);
  • threatening to hurt you;
  • a single sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour (or repeated acts);
  • not being allowed to have your own opinions about religion, cultural beliefs, and values.

Family Violence can take many forms and so the above list is not an exhaustive list but a guide only.

It is important to remember that nobody has the right to be violence, abusive or controlling toward you. If someone is hurting you, either physically or emotionally, that can be very scary and it might be hard for you to know how you can stop it. There are people and organisations that can help you.


Steps to ensure your safety


If you have been or are being subjected to Family Violence you should know how to keep yourself safe and where you can seek more help when you are ready or able to. We have a list of 23 different contact organisations available to you under the heading Family Violence in our Links and Resources Page.

The following steps to ensure your safety is taken from the Reach website:

  • Is there immediate danger? How likely is it that someone will hurt yo? If necessary, you may have to move to somewhere safe.

  • Do you have support? Making a decision to leave a situation where you feel unsafe may be hard and scary. If possible, talk to someone you trust, like a friend, counsellor or youth worker.

  • Talk to the police: If you feel unsafe the police are good people to talk to. If you or someone you know has been hurt, the police will be able to help.

  • Believe in yourself: If someone is hurting you or threatening to, it can be hard to maintain your self-confidence. Remember it is never ok for someone to hurt or threaten to hurt you.

  • Know your rights. if may be a good idea to check our your legal rights. Laws vary from state to state.


Family Violence & Domestic Violence - More Information


The following fact sheets will contain more helpful information to assist you:




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Content By:
Michelle Beatty, Senior Lawyer
Virtual Legal

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