The word “family” is meant to evoke warmth and comfort, but unfortunately, that is not the reality for some people. Last year, police had to deal with 91,500 family violence occurrences in Victoria, and you do not have to be amongst that number.
"Family violence has been a significant problem over a number of years, and despite the best efforts of successive governments, little has changed," - Magistrate Holze.r
If you’re affected by family violence, you have recourse. You can take on the services of a lawyer specialising in family violence intervention orders.
What Amounts to Family Violence?
Family violence is destructive actions used to control, threaten, coerce or dominate a family member by causing them to be afraid.
It includes the following:
- Physical violence, such as the perpetrator smacking or shoving a person around;
- Sexual violence, such as the perpetrator forcing a person to engage in sexual behaviour if they do not want to;
- Emotional or psychological abuse, such as the perpetrator controlling a person’s movement, who they can or cannot contact or insulting them, or
- Financial abuse, such as the perpetrator dictating someone’s money usage.
If a child witnesses family violence in any form, the law also offers them protection.
This applies if a child:
- Assists the victim;
- Witnesses damaged property in the house; or
- Is present as family violence occurs.
The police have to address all family violence reports. They are permitted to act even if someone does not consent to it because the safety of a person and their children is tantamount.
A Family violence intervention order covers family members which consists of the following:
- People in an intimate personal relationship. The relationship does not need to be sexual—for example, married or domestic partners.
- Parents and children, this includes children of a partner.
- Family by birth, marriage or adoption.
- People you take as family—for example, a carer, guardian, or person who forms part of the family structure of your culture.
The law also safeguards people who were family in the past.
Family Violence Intervention Order
This intervention order is a legally actionable document that seeks to protect a person, their children and their property.
The order has requirements to prevent the perpetrator from abusing the protected person.
Depending on the requirements, the law might call for the perpetrator to:
- Stop the abuse;
- Cease communication with the protected person, stop others from communicating with that person on their behalf; or
- Stay away from the protected person, or not get someone else to act on their behalf.
The magistrate could make further orders, such as suspending or terminating the perpetrator’s firearm licences.
It is human nature to want to see the best in the people closest to us. Unfortunately, when it comes to family violence, turning a blind eye is not the solution.
Irrespective of the relationship that you and the perpetrator share, it is essential that you remember your rights. While an intervention order is regarded as a civil matter, failing to honour it makes it a criminal case. If you need legal expertise about a family violence intervention order, contact us today.