South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

Family violence

For Female Survivors, Male Survivors

Tags: Family Violence, Legal Information

Author: Springvale Monash Legal Service

What is family violence?

In Victoria, family violence covers a range of behaviours committed by a person against a family member. All the behaviours aim to control a family member through fear, and include the following:

  1. physical abuse, for example pushing or hitting
  2. sexual abuse, including forcing a person to have sex or engage in sexual activity
  3. emotional or psychological abuse, including calling the person by names and controlling their behaviour
  4. intentionally damaging a family member’s property
  5. economic abuse – this includes controlling a family member’s bank accounts and money without their consent
  6. any other behaviour that causes the family member to feel fear for their safety, the safety of another person or an animal
  7. threatening to do any of the above.

An act of family violence also occurs if a child hears, sees or is around family violence. The law then protects that child as well as the family member who was the victim of the violence.
Anyone can be affected by family violence, regardless of their age, gender, sexual identity, cultural background, ability, religion, wealth, status or location.

Family violence is the leading contributor to preventable death, disability and illness among Victorian women aged 15 to 44 years. 11

If you are affected by family violence, help and support are available. You are not alone.

If you believe you are the victim of family violence and are a family member, you are protected by the laws of family violence in Victoria. See the What Can I Do About Family Violence information sheet to find out what assistance is available to you.

If you are the victim of similar behaviour but are not a family member see the Personal Safety Intervention Orders information sheet to find out how a Personal Safety Intervention Order may be able to protect you.

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