What is Family Violence?

Sadly, the issue of domestic/family violence continues to impact families in our community and remains a leading topic of news and social media.

The Family Law Act 1975 describes family violence as “violent, threatening or other behaviour that coerces or controls a member of a person’s family, or causes the family member to be fearful”.

Examples of family violence may include an assault, stalking, ongoing derogatory taunts, damage to property, unreasonably denying financial autonomy or financial support, depriving a family member of a connection with their extended family, friends or culture or depriving the family member of their liberty.

Family violence and children

A child is exposed to family violence where they may see, hear or be in the presence of the type of any behaviour constituting family violence. To this extent, exposure includes comforting affected family members after the fact, and being present while police or ambulance provide assistance to family members.

What can coercive control look like?

Some behaviours are more easily identifiable than others and picking up and being aware of the subtleties of coercive control can be difficult.

As Family Law Practitioners, we often have “light bulb moments” where a client reflects on their relationship and identifies a course of behaviour that was all too simply accepted as “the way it was”. Following the breakdown of a relationship, closer scrutiny of some of these behaviours can be viewed in a more objective light.

Examples of coercive control can include an expectation to constantly “check in” with a partner or spouse, close monitoring of social media platforms. The use of Apps to monitor movements and an ongoing obligation to explain or justify your movements and/or financial, friendship or employment choices are other means of coercive control.

Protections can be sought under the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld).
A relationship breakdown takes a personal toll on everyone involved. The lawyers at Catton & Tondelstrand can assist in relation to all manner of issues arising from a relationship breakdown including parenting issues, property settlement, divorce and domestic violence matters. Contact our office for further assistance.

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