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Family Violence and Family Violence Orders

Family Violence and Family Violence Orders (Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders)

What is Abuse?

Abuse in relation to a child means:

  • Assault, including sexual assault of the child;
  • Involving the child in a sexual activity, as a sexual object for another person;
  • Causing the child to suffer serious psychological harm, including where harm is caused by the child being exposed to family violence;
  • Serious neglect of the child.

What is Family Violence?

In 2011, the definition of family violence in the Family Law Act was expanded to include coercive and controlling behaviour, which is not always linked with physical violence or threats.

Family Violence 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; and
  • 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 behaviour that may be family violence include but are not limited to

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

A child is exposed to Family Violence if the child sees or hears family violence and some example include:

  • Over hearing threats of death or personal injury to another family member;
  • Seeing or hearing an assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family;
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

What is a Family Violence Order?

A Family Violence Order or Apprehended Violence Orders is an Order made on an Interim or Final basis by a state or territory to protect a person from family violence. They can often include restraints on the perpetrator from intimidating, stalking or being in the vicinity of the victim’s home or work. They are a civil order and only become a criminal matter, if they are breached.

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