What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence (also known as family violence) constitutes a very broad spectrum of behaviour. Both physical and psychological violence are deemed to be domestic violence.

The relevant legislation in the ACT is the Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT). Recent changes to the legislation now mean that the definition of family violence is broader than ever before. Family violence extends far beyond physical violence or verbal abuse. Family Violence includes emotional, psychological or financial abuse. Any behaviour which makes you or your children feel unsafe is likely to constitute family violence.

The ACT Magistrates Court determines Family Violence Orders (these were previously known as Domestic Violence Orders).

Every family violence matter is different and as such family violence orders can include a variety of different orders which prevent certain actions. Actions which can be controlled or prevented include;

  • Preventing a person from approaching another person or place
  • Preventing a person from being within a particular distance from a certain person
  • Preventing a person from taking another person’s belongings or refusing to return belongings
  • Preventing someone from harming pets

You can make a family violence application to the court. Before making an application it is advisable to contact a solicitor to discuss your issues in detail. Every matter is different and it is important that you know the options available to you.

If you are considering applying for a family violence order you should also talk to your solicitor about any family law issues that may have arisen simultaneously or consequentially. Family Violence issues and family law issues are connected and legal action in one area can affect the other so it is important to have a good understanding of the law involved and how it affects you.