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What is domestic and family violence?

Domestic violence behaviour includes when another person you are in an intimate personal, family or carer relationship with:

  • is physically or sexually abusive to you
  • is emotionally or psychologically abusive to you
  • is economically abusive to you
  • threatens you
  • forces you to do things you do not want to do
  • in any other way controls or dominates you and causes you to fear for your safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.

Examples of this behaviour include:

  • injuring you, punching you, strangling you, grabbing you around the throat, pushing you, slapping you, pulling your hair or twisting your arms or legs, or threatening to injure you, your children, or any person you care about
  • repeatedly calling, texting, emailing you, or contacting you or your children through a social networking site without consent
  • damaging (or threatening to damage) your property (eg breaking your phone or punching holes in the walls)
  • stalking, following you or remaining outside your house or place of work
  • following and/or contacting children, colleagues or family members in an attempt to find you
  • monitoring you by accessing your text messages, emails, internet browser history or social networking site without permission
  • putting you down or making racial taunts
  • preventing, or attempting to prevent, you from leaving
  • forcing you to engage in sexual activities without your consent
  • getting someone else to injure, intimidate, harass or threaten you, or damage your property
  • threatening to commit suicide or self-harm to manipulate you
  • threatening you or the children with the death or harm of another person or pet
  • threatening to withdraw their care of you if you don't do something
  • coercing you to give them your income or preventing you from keeping your job
  • forcing you to sign a power of attorney against your will so they manage your finances
  • threatening to disclose your gender identity and/or sexual orientation to your family, friends or colleagues without your consent
  • preventing you from making or keeping connections with your family, friends or culture, including cultural or spiritual ceremonies or practices.

If another person you are in a relevant relationship with (see page 8) does any of these things, you can apply to a magistrate at a Magistrates Court for a domestic violence order. It is important to remember you do not have to have been physically injured to have experienced domestic violence.

Children are exposed to domestic violence when they see, hear or experience these behaviours directly or indirectly. (See What about children?).

Last updated 7 April 2021

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