Family Violence and Domestic Violence – Family Law Parenting Disputes

Family Violence and Domestic Violence – Family Law Parenting Disputes

In high conflict parenting matters, child abuse and family violence to the children are commonplace. The Family Courts take domestic violence very seriously and unfortunately, many parents who have experienced family violence from the other parent do not consider what they are experiencing as family violence and will only focus on physical abuse. This article explains the wider definition of family violence and child abuse according to the Courts.

The Family Law Act defines family violence 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.  For added clarity it lists examples including but not limited to –

  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Repeated insults
  • Damaging Property
  • Denying the family member financial autonomy and withholding financial support; and
  • Preventing a family member from making connect with their family or friends.

What is very important to note is that children can be deemed to have been exposed to that violence by way of witnessing the violent incidents, comforting the family members who have been assaulted, cleaning up after the incidents, or being present if Police or Ambulance Officers attend.

The definition of child abuse is also wide and is:

  • Serious neglect of a child
  • Assault including a sexual assault
  • Causing a child to suffer serious psychological harm; or
  • When a child is being subjected to, or exposed to family violence.

As mentioned in our previous article regarding the best interests of the child, the Court places the utmost importance on protecting children from harm. Therefore a finding of family violence or child abuse can lead to the Court making Orders for supervised time or no time at all.

Parenting matters involving family violence or child abuse are some of the most complex Family Law matters. If you are having issues with parenting arrangements for a child, call our expert Family Lawyers now on 4324 7699.


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