Violence between family members is subject to legal intervention in the same way as violence between strangers.
Family violence is recognised to take many forms, including not only physical injury, but also emotional and psychological harm, social isolation and financial control.
Even though not all forms of family violence carry a criminal sanction and penalty, all forms are often relevant to courts, for example, all forms are relevant when a court is making intervention orders or parenting orders.
Victims of family violence in the past have been stigmatised and the prevailing attitude of keeping the problem behind closed doors as a ‘private’ family matter only furthered victimisation and increased the vulnerability of victims. Legislation now emphasises family violence as a social problem affecting all members of society and attracting the full sanctions of criminal justice intervention.
However, it should be noted that legal remedies can sometimes be of limited use in a crisis. It is more often the practical steps and planning a person can take which will be of much greater significance for their safety than reliance on legal remedies alone.
For information on domestic and family violence and the law in Australia, visit the Family Violence Law Help website.
In an emergency: 000
For police attendance: 131 444
Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1800 800 098
1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732.