Meaning of family violence
(1) In this Act:
“family violence” means—
(a) any of the following behaviour by a person in relation to a family member of the person:
(i) physical violence or abuse;
(ii) sexual violence or abuse;
(iii) emotional or psychological abuse;
(iv) economic abuse;
(v) threatening behaviour;
(vi) coercion or any other behaviour that—
(A) controls or dominates the family member; and
(B) causes the family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of the family member or another person; or
(b) behaviour that causes a child to hear, witness or otherwise be exposed to behaviour mentioned in paragraph (a), or the effects of the behaviour.
1. overhearing threats being made in another room of the house
2. seeing an assault or seeing injuries on a family member who has been assaulted
3. seeing people comfort a family member who has been abused
Note An example is part of the Act, is not exhaustive and may extend, but does not limit, the meaning of the provision in which it appears (see Legislation Act, s 126 and s 132).
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), “family violence” by a person in relation to a family member of the person includes the following:
(a) sexually coercive behaviour;
(b) damaging property;
(c) harming an animal;
(e) deprivation of liberty.
(3) In this section:
“economic abuse”, of a family member, means behaviour by a person that is coercive, deceptive or that unreasonably controls the family member without the family member’s consent including by the person’s exploitation of power imbalances between the person and the family member—
(a) in a way that takes away the financial independence or control the family member would have but for the behaviour; or
(b) if the family member is wholly or predominantly dependent on the person for financial support to meet the living expenses of the family member or the family member’s child—by withholding the financial support.
1. stopping the family member from having access to money to meet normal living expenses
2. requiring the family member to transfer or hand over control of assets or income
3. stopping the family member from trying to get employment
4. forcing the family member to sign a legal document such as a power of attorney, loan, guarantee
5. forcing the family member to claim social security payments
“emotional or psychological abuse”, of a family member, means behaviour by a person that torments, intimidates, harasses or is offensive to the family member including by the person’s exploitation of power imbalances between the person and the family member.
1. stopping the family member from visiting or having contact with family or friends
2. stopping the family member from engaging in cultural or spiritual practices
3. repeated derogatory or racist comments
4. threatening to disclose personal information about the family member
5. threatening to withhold medication, personal health care items or other things necessary to the family member’s health or quality of life
6. threatening to self-harm as a way of intimidating the family member