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What is "Family Violence"?

Article written by Colin Abernethy

Pursuant to the Family Violence Act 2018 “family violence” means any “violence” against a person by any other person with whom that person is, or has been, in a family relationship. 

Person A is in a family relationship with person B if A;

a)    Is a spouse or partner of B; b) is a family member of B; c) ordinarily shares a household with B; d) has a close personal relationship with B. Whether A has a close relationship with B depends on the nature and intensity of the relationship, and the duration of the relationship. 

“Violence” means:

(a) Physical abuse (e.g. punching, kicking, pushing, holding down); (b) Sexual abuse (e.g. rape); (c) Psychological abuse, which includes, but is not limited to: (i) Threats of physical or sexual abuse or any of the following forms of abuse; (ii) Intimidation; (iii) Harassment; (iv) Damage to property; (v) Ill treatment to pets or other animals significant to a person’s well-being; (vi) Financial or economic abuse; (vii) In relation to a child, abuse of the kind set out below.

A person psychologically abuses a child if that person:

(a) Causes or allows the child to see or hear the physical, sexual, or psychological abuse of a person with whom the child has a family relationship; (b) Puts the child or allows the child to be put, at real risk of seeing or hearing that abuse occurring. However, the person who suffers the abuse is not regarded as having caused or allowed the child to see or hear the abuse, or as the case may be, as having put the child, or allowed the child to be put, at risk of seeing or hearing the abuse.

A single act may amount to abuse. A number of acts that form part of a pattern of behaviour may amount to abuse, even though some or all of those acts, when viewed in isolation, may appear to be minor or trivial. Behaviour may be psychological abuse including such behaviour which does not involve actual or threatened physical or sexual abuse.

If you are the victim of family violence, please contact a family lawyer immediately. If you are in immediate danger, please contact the Police. There are a number of legal options available to victims of family violence including a Protection Order (if such an Order is necessary for the victim’s protection) and a Police Safety Order.

 

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