What is family violence?

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Family violence is a pattern of behaviour that is:

  • physically
  • sexually
  • emotionally, psychologically abusive
  • coercive
  • controlling
  • dominating, OR
  • making a person feel scared or fearful for their safety and wellbeing and that of another; and
  • includes causing a child to witness, hear or otherwise be exposed to the effects of such behaviour. Children witnessing family violence has the same negative effects on children as physical violence against them.

The Victorian Family Violence Protection Act 2008 views family violence as happening between people in a family or family like relationship such as:

  • a current or former spouse (husband or wife)
  • a current or former partner (male or female)
  • a current or former relative
    • a parent
    • a son or daughter
    • a niece or nephew
    • an uncle
    • an aunty
    • a grandparent (grandmother or grandfather)
    • a cousin
  • for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person — relative includes a person who under Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander tradition or contemporary social practice is the person's relative
  • a person who has or has had an intimate personal relationship with you (sexual or not)
  • someone who you consider as like a family member
  • a child who normally or regularly lives with you
  • a child who used to live with you
  • a carer

Family Violence is sometimes called domestic violence, intimate partner violence or an abusive relationship.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.