For clients who are experiencing the devastation of domestic violence ( family violence) or are trying to escape it the new Family Violence Act was amended to assist you and your children in these types of cases.
Ioanita is available to give you urgent advice where required and will assist you in understanding how the legal system and other organisations can operate to support you in these difficult circumstances.
The definition of family violence is: “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.”
Examples of violent behaviour may include:
- an assault
- a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour
- repeated derogatory taunts
- intentionally damaging or destroying property
- intentionally causing death or injury to an animal
- unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had
- unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member, 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
- unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member’s family of his or her liberty
The Court must give greater weight to “the need to protect a child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence” than to the first primary consideration of the Court in a child related proceeding and that is, “the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents.”
On a serious note, one woman is killed by her ex-partner each week in Australia. There are organisations such as the White Ribbon Foundation who are doing their best to try and prevent this senseless murder of women. In the past 5 years in the United Kingdom specific questionnaires have been introduced for victims to complete which include questions about stalking and harassment. Australian Police will have the benefit of similar questionnaires soon which will quickly identify those women who are of a high and medium risk of being attacked by their ex-partner. Certainly the introduction of the new questionnaires is aimed at trying to remove the high and medium risk women from this danger.
Men are also victims of family violence and should be encouraged to come forward about the abuse that they are suffering.
It is recognised that in some court battles between de-facto partners or separated couples that the abuser in the relationship goes on to further abuse their ex-partner by using the court system to exert financial and emotional pressure on them. Quite often for some women in particular, though you may have escaped the relationship of abuse or domestic violence, you still feel you are being abused by the perpetrator who refuses to be reasonable about property division or parenting issues.
If you have any concerns about domestic violence or family violence do not hesitate to contact us immediately.