This article aims to explore what constitutes domestic violence and detail the types of abuses that fall under domestic violence.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence? Definition: –
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behaviour, where one seeks to control or dominate another person.
Domestic violence is also sometimes referred to as relationship violence, family violence, intimate partner violence, or child abuse.
Under Section 4AB of the Family Law Act 1975, family violence is defined as follows: –
“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.”
Family violence can be a broader term, which is used to refer to violence between family members. This can sometimes include violence between parents, and children, between siblings, or between current or former intimate partners.
However, when understanding what constitutes domestic violence, it is important to know that domestic violence refers to violence between current or former intimate partners.
Domestic Violence: Types of Abuse
To know what constitutes domestic violence, it is important for you to understand the different categories of abuse that can fall under domestic or family violence.
- Physical Abuse: Physical abuse primarily includes direct assault to the body, like choking, eye injuries, shaking, slapping, biting, pushing, pulling hair, and kicking. Physical abuse involves the use of weapons or household objects to hurt the victim, which can also include children. Preventing someone from sleeping, or taking medication also falls under physical abuse.
- Psychological Abuse: Creating fear by driving recklessly, holding weapons, destroying property, and making threats fall under psychological abuse.
- Verbal Abuse: Verbal abuse is the use of abusive words, swearing, humiliating in public, name-calling.
- Sexual Abuse: Sexual Abuse would consist of any form of forced or unwanted sexual intercourse and using degrading sexual insults.
- Harassment and Stalking: This could include telephone harassment, online harassment, following the victim, watching the victim, and intimidating them, and using Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the victim’s whereabouts.
- Spiritual or Religious Abuse: Using religious beliefs to scare and control the victim. Forcing the victim, and/or their children to follow religious practices even if they don’t wish to do so. Insulting the victim if they follow their own religious practices.
- Emotional Abuse: Some people have a tendency to blame the victim whenever something goes wrong. In addition to this, the victim is always compared with others with the intent to affect their self-esteem or confidence. Emotional blackmail, and/or suicidal threats also all under emotional abuse.
- Social Abuse: When the victim is made to isolate from their family and friends, or when they are prevented from using a car or telephone, or forbidding the victim from going out, it is considered to be social abuse.
- Financial Abuse: Examples of financial abuse include preventing the victim from getting a job or working, forbidding access to bank accounts, and controlling the victim’s pensions or other financial allowances.
How To Recognise Domestic Violence?
An important part of understanding what constitutes domestic violence is knowing how to recognise domestic violence. Given below are some questions to consider while recognising domestic violence:-
- Is the victim feeling uncomfortable or afraid at home because of the actions of somebody else?
- Is the victim being asked to isolate from their own friends and/or family?
- Is the victim being prevented from seeking medical help?
- Is the victim being constantly threatened, and/or forced to do things they don’t wish to do?
Dealing with domestic violence can lead to overwhelming stress and anxiety. But, it is important to know that there are services available to help you. It is important for you to contact authorities to report any domestic or family violence.
Domestic Violence Statistics Australia
Now that you have an idea about what constitutes domestic violence, the following section provides an overview of the extent to which domestic violence occurs in Australia.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) summarises the statistics of domestic violence occurrence in Australia as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
- Since the age of 15, 1 in 6 women, and 1 in 16 men have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or a previous partner.
- Since the age of 15, 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 6 men have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.
- Since the age of 15, 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 20 men have experienced sexual abuse and violence.
Domestic Violence Offence
In New South Wales, the police apply for Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) against a person whenever there has been an allegation of violence or intimidation.
One type of AVO called the Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders, or ADVOs are more relevant for domestic violence cases. Click here to read an article on ADVOs.
JB Solicitors’ Legal Guidance
After understanding what constitutes domestic violence, you would have realised that domestic violence is a very serious crime. If you or someone you know is being subjected to domestic violence, it is very essential to reach out to the right authorities who can help you.
Our team of JB Solicitors is here to provide you with any legal assistance in such matters and even to represent you in court.
Our team of compassionate family lawyers understands your stress, and they will go above and beyond in helping you in your situation.
Contact JB Solicitors if you have further queries on what constitutes domestic violence, how to apply for AVOs, or if you have any other legal concern.