Domestic violence (also named domestic abuse, battering, or family violence) is a pattern of behaviour which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence is violence by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner.
In Australia, domestic violence is defined by Family Law Act 1975 as "violent, threatening or another behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family, or causes the family member to be fearful".
The Act refers to acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship in domestic settings. Domestic violence includes violence between partners of both sexes, including same-sex relationships. However, the term can be altered by each state's legislation and can broaden the spectrum of domestic violence, such as in Victoria, where family-like relationships and witnessing any type of violence in the family is defined as family violence.
To refer to domestic violence, in Australia, states chose to name them differently. As such, in Australia domestic violence, depending on the state, it's called "domestic violence", "family violence", "domestic and family violence" and "domestic abuse".
Helpful resources for Domestic Abuse
- Domestic Violence Unit from Legal Aid New South Wales: The Domestic Violence Unit is a specialist domestic and family violence service at Legal Aid NSW. The Unit is made up of lawyers and social workers who work together to help clients who have experienced domestic and family violence, with their legal and social needs. The Domestic Violence Unit can help clients better understand their legal problems and the choices they have. There is no cost involved with seeing one of our lawyers or social workers. They are separate from other Legal Aid NSW lawyers. This means they can provide assistance even if clients are in dispute with someone who is receiving help from another Legal Aid office.