If you are in danger, please use a safer computer, or call 000 (Australian emergency number) or 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) (advice)

To leave this site quickly, click the Quick Exit button

How family violence is defined

How family violence is defined

How family violence is defined

Family violence is when someone exercises power and control over another person. It involves coercive and abusive behaviours that intimidate, humiliate, undermine and isolate, resulting in fear and insecurity. It covers a wide spectrum of behaviours including physical and sexual abuse, as well as psychological, emotional, cultural, spiritual and financial abuse. It can occur in intimate partner relationships, extended families, kinship networks, intergenerational networks and carer relationships (Family Safety Victoria - Responding to Family Violence Capability Framework).

In Victoria, the meaning of family violence is set out in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. (DVVic 2018)

In Australia, one in three women has experienced physical violence, since the age of 15, one in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner and one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. Of those women who experience intimate partner violence, more than half are caring for children. (Our Watch 2018)

Family violence statistics infographic

Image description: Infographic – around 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced intimate partner violence; on average, one woman is killed in Australia by a partner or ex every week; of clients accessing specialist homelessness services, 42% are escaping family violence; intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness in women aged 18–44.

Next: The development of an Integrated Family Violence Service System

Previous: The purpose of these guidelines