Family Violence in Australia

According to the Bureau of Statistics data released on 15 March 2023 –  1 in 4 women in Australia have experienced violence by an intimate partner. Statistics show that 1 in 14 men in Australia have experienced violence by an intimate partner.

This is a shocking statistic and suggests that if you have not experienced family violence the chances are someone close to you has.

Family Violence is defined by the Family Law Act at S4AB as “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. The Section provides a number of examples of behaviour that would constitute Family Violence including assault, sexually abusive behaviour, repeated derogatory reports, destruction of property, intentional injury to animals, unreasonably withholding financial support, and preventing someone from making or keeping connections with their family or friends.

The definition is wide and captures a range of behaviours which leave physical and/or emotional scars.  

The impact of Domestic Violence on a person and their children cannot be understated. In Wollongong this week, more than 350 people gathered for the inaugural Australia Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Recovery and Healing Conference. At the conference Sally Stevenson said,

“Once the abuse ends, if you are able to leave a relationship, that is not the end of the trauma because recovery can be complicated and sometimes lifelong”.

Navigating the Family Law system as a survivor of Family Violence can be very difficult.

Some victims of family violence are acutely aware that their relationship is unhealthy and feel enormous feelings of guilt that their children are being exposed to unhealthy relationships. However, some victims only become aware that the relationship is unhealthy when they have been told by authorities that their children will be removed if they do not leave the relationship.

For most victims it is not a simple exercise to leave a relationship, the bonds are often complex. Victims who have been isolated often have no support network, may have little or no access to money, feel that they are dependent upon their abusers, have deep love for their abusers, and experience high levels of anxiety about how they will cope on their own. This is further compounded by a nationwide rental crisis. Leaving relationships is often the most dangerous time for a victim and their children. We often work with clients to ensure that they are well supported to leave a relationship and consider safety plans for victims and their children.

The benefits of leaving an unhealthy relationship outweigh the difficulty associated with breaking the bonds. The most important outcome for most parents is to ensure that their children are no longer exposed to violence. Children that are exposed to family violence are often profoundly impacted and will often impact on their social and emotional developments and attachments, increased risk of developmental and educational delays, and have behavioural problems. There is also a correlation between exposure to family violence in childhood and those children experiencing (both as perpetrators and victims) family violence in their own adult relationships.

Every case is different, and it is important that you take advice on your circumstances. At Mason Lawyers we understand Family Violence, and we are here to help. You can contact us on (02) 4929 4499, or book an appointment online.


AVOs, ADVOs and APVOs – read more here: https://masonlawyers.com.au/service/avo-advo-apvo-offences/

You can read more about the conference at  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-07/australian-domestic-family-sexual-violence-recovery-conference/102308344


Staying home leaving violence – Staying Home Leaving Violence (nsw.gov.au)

Commbank Domestic Violence Assistance – Domestic & Family Violence Assistance Program – CommBank

Service NSW Crisis Payments for Extreme Family Violence – Crisis Payment for Extreme Circumstances Family and Domestic Violence – Services Australia

Jenny’s Place – Home – Jenny’s Place (jennysplace.org)

Commonwealth Rent Assistance – Commonwealth Rent Assistance | Department of Social Services, Australian Government (dss.gov.au)

Victims of Crime Assistance League (Hunter) – Victims of Crime Assistance League (VOCAL) | Victim Support Unit

Rent Choice Start Safely – Rent Choice Start Safely | Family & Community Services (nsw.gov.au)


Survivor’s R Us (Cardiff, NSW) – Survivor’s R Us Incorporated (survivorsrusincorporated.com)

Samaritans – Emergency Relief – Newcastle & NSW – Samaritans | Samaritans

Anglicare – Food Assistance & Vouchers | Financial Assistance & Support | Anglicare


NSW Domestic Violence Line – 1800 65 64 63

1800RESPECT – 1800 73 77 32

Kasey Stewart
Kasey Stewart

26 May, 2023

The information in this article is intended to provide general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice specific to your particular circumstances, you must formally engage a lawyer or law firm. The law is subject to change, and whilst we strive to keep our content up-to-date, developments may occur after publication. The information contained on our website should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. Mason Lawyers takes no responsibility for any use of the information provided. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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