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Domestic Violence, Family Abuse and Family Law

Family violence affects thousands of people across Australia.

If you are experiencing issues related to family violence it is important to take steps to protect yourself or to defend yourself from unfounded allegations. Ignoring abuse is not the answer.

DVOs and AVOs are types of orders made by  a court to provide a measure of protection in instances of domestic violence. They are not a substitute for taking proper precautions. If you or anyone you know are in immediate danger then you should contact the police on 000.

Bell Legal Group’s experienced family law team can provide you with advice, guidance and representation in matters involving domestic violence.


Impact on Family Law cases involving children and or property

Where there is an order or allegations have been made about domestic violence this can have serious consequences in your Family Law case. In parenting matters a court has to consider family violence when ascertaining what orders are in the best interests of the child. Read more about parenting and Family Law

In property matters too, family or domestic violence can influence the outcome. In the 1997 case of Kennon, the Family Court found that violent conduct during a marriage made contributions ‘more arduous‘ than they would otherwise have been.

Where the behaviour is sufficiently serious a judge can take it into account when working out what the property settlement should be. Read more about property settlement and Family Law


Family Law definition of Family Violence

Family Violence is defined by section 4AB(1) of the Family Law Act 1975 as:

(1) For the purposes of this Act, 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.

(2) Examples of behaviour that may constitute family violence include (but are not limited to):

(a) an assault; or

(b) a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; or

(c) stalking; or

(d) repeated derogatory taunts; or

(e) intentionally damaging or destroying property; or

(f) intentionally causing death or injury to an animal; or

(g) unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had; or

(h) 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

(i) preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture; or

(j) unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member’s family, of his or her liberty.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, a child is exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence.

(4) Examples of situations that may constitute a child being exposed to family violence include (but are not limited to) the child:

(a) overhearing threats of death or personal injury by a member of the child’s family towards another member of the child’s family; or

(b) seeing or hearing an assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family; or

(c) 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

(d) 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

(e) 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.

Please note that the above is general information only. It is not legal advice nor is it intended to be and should not be relied upon as such.


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