Domestic Violence in Australia - AVOs in NSW

Domestic Violence in Australia

Understanding Family Violence in Australia:
Laws, Resources, and Support

Domestic violence affects not only the primary victim, but also those around them. Often these are also small children. Domestic violence is not only a serious problem for children, but facing it early in life can become normalized in the minds of children. In Victoria alone, the number of domestic violence cases reported to the police increased by around 73% between 2004/2005 and 2011/2012, and the number of intervention orders issued by courts increased by an alarming around 83%.

Domestic violence is often understood to mean only physical and sexual abuse. Courts and the public at large are increasingly realizing that it involves much more. This may include emotional, psychological, or financial abuse, or behavior intended to coerce, control, or dominate a person. Fear of your partner or feeling like you’re “walking on eggshells” can be clues that you’re actually in an abusive relationship.

It’s often the more subtle domestic violence that goes undetected. It’s important to understand that domestic violence is all about control. This includes financial control, emotional control, or physical control. It is important to note that actions such as controlling a person’s finances or withholding money or basic necessities constitute domestic violence.

In Australia, two in five people over the age of 15 have experienced domestic violence. Therefore, it is important to know the early warning signs of domestic violence and the proactive and reactive measures that can be taken to deal with it.

At Dot Legal, we understand the importance of addressing critical legal issues affecting families across Australia. Family violence is an area that requires utmost attention, as it poses significant challenges to the safety, well-being, and stability of individuals and communities. In this article, we will delve into the topic of family violence in Australia, discussing its prevalence, legal implications, and available resources and support.


  1. The Prevalence of Family Violence in Australia

Family violence, also known as domestic violence, refers to any behavior within a family or an intimate relationship that causes physical, emotional, psychological, or financial harm to one or more members. Tragically, family violence is a prevalent issue throughout Australia, impacting individuals of all ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds.

Statistics reveal that one in six women and one in twenty men have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15. Moreover, many children are exposed to family violence, witnessing its devastating effects on their caregivers or experiencing direct abuse themselves.

  1. Legal Framework Addressing Family Violence

In response to the pressing need to combat family violence, Australia has developed a comprehensive legal framework aimed at protecting victims and holding perpetrators accountable. The key legislation addressing family violence includes:

a. Domestic Violence Legislation: Each state, including NSW, has specific domestic violence laws that define family violence, outline available protection orders, and establish penalties for offenders. These laws empower victims to seek legal protection from abusive partners or family members.

b. Family Law Act: This federal law governs matters related to family breakdowns, parenting arrangements, and property settlements. It also recognizes the significance of family violence and ensures the safety of children and affected parties in family law proceedings.

c. Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs): ADVOs are court orders designed to protect victims of family violence by prohibiting the perpetrator from engaging in certain behaviors or contacting the victim.

d. Crimes Act: Various provisions within the Crimes Act deal with assault, stalking, and other criminal offenses related to family violence.

  1. Seeking Help and Support

Recognizing the importance of a holistic approach to combating family violence, various organizations and support services exist to assist victims and their families:

a. 1800RESPECT: This national helpline provides confidential support and counseling for those experiencing or impacted by family violence. They can be reached 24/7 at 1800 737 732.

b. Men’s Referral Service: Catering specifically to men, this helpline offers advice and support to those who have perpetrated, or fear they may perpetrate, family violence. Contact them at 1300 766 491.

c. Local Support Services: In each of our Dot Legal offices, including Melbourne, Sydney, Penrith, Merrylands, and Smeaton Grange, there are local support organizations ready to assist victims with counseling, legal advice, and safe accommodation.



Family violence remains a complex and concerning issue in Australia, but by fostering awareness, education, and strong legal support, we can make significant strides in eradicating it from our communities. At Dot Legal, we are committed to advocating for the rights of those affected by family violence and providing the necessary legal guidance to protect them. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our compassionate team or any of the support services mentioned above. Together, we can create a safer and more secure environment for all Australians.


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