What is family violence?

Violence is any act that makes another person feel fearful and unsafe. Family violence can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, verbal and financial abuse. It can include damage to property and injury to animals. Essentially, family violence is any form of threatening, coercive, controlling or dominating behaviour that makes a family member fear for their safety or wellbeing or for the safety or wellbeing of another person.

In respect of a child, child abuse is a form of family violence and includes behaviour that causes a child to hear, to witness, or to otherwise be exposed to the effects of family violence. Examples of such behaviour are listed in section 5(1)(b) of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) (“FVP Act”).

“Family violence” is defined in section 5 of the FVP Act. The FVP Act (ss 5–7) gives examples of the different forms of family violence.

Family violence is mostly, but not exclusively, perpetrated by men against women and children.