What is Abuse?
Abuse in relation to a child is defined as:
- Sexual abuse;
- Causing a child to suffer serious psychological harm caused by being subjected to or exposed to family violence; or
- Serious neglect.
What is Family Violence?
Family violence means 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.
A child is exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence.
Family violence covers a broad range of controlling behaviours, which result in fear, harm, intimidation and emotional deprivation.
It occurs within a variety of close interpersonal relationships, such as between spouses, partners, parents and children, siblings, and in other relationships where significant others are not part of the physical household but are part of the family and/or are fulfilling the function of family.
Common forms of violence in families include:
- Physical Violence
- Sexual Violence;
- Emotional Violence; and
- Economic Violence.
Examples of behaviour that may constitute family violence include (but are not limited to):
- An assault; or
- A sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; or
- Stalking; or
- Repeated derogatory taunts; or
- Intentionally damaging property; or
- Intentionally causing death or injury to an animal; or
- Unreasonably denying financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had; or
- Unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member, or his or her child, at a time when the family member is entirely or predominantly dependent on the person for financial support; or
- Preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture, or otherwise unlawfully depriving liberty; or
- Threats of suicide or self-harm.
Examples of situations that may constitute a child being exposed to family violence include (but are not limited to) the child:
- Overhearing threats of death or personal injury by a member of the child’s family towards another member of the child’s family;
- Seeing or hearing an assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family;
- Comforting or providing assistance to a member of the child’s family who has been assaulted by another member of the child’s family;
- Cleaning up a site after a member of the child’s family has intentionally damaged property of another member of the child’s family; or
- Being present when police or ambulance officers attend an incident involving the assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family.
What do you do if you or your child is subjected to Family Violence?
In the event you or your children are subjected to family violence you are able to contact the police and ask that they attend your property to take out a Safety Notice. This notice will in essence act as an Intervention Order for a short period of time until you are able to obtain an Order from the Court.
Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact Nicholes Family Lawyers 9670 4122. We can make arrangements to complete an Application for an Intervention Order on your behalf and otherwise provide advice about the impact of child abuse and family violence in family law matters.