Under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), family violence is:
- behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour
- is physically or sexually abusive; or
- is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
- is economically abusive; or
- is threatening; or
- is coercive; or
- in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person; or
- behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to in paragraph (a).
It is important to note these behaviours can be used via telecommunications (e.g. internet or phone) as well as in person.
Definition of family
The definition of family in the Protection Act is inclusive, and includes:
- Biological family
- Kin relationships
- Marriage, de facto or intimate personal relationships (including lesbian, gay or queer relationships)
- Parents and children who are not related biologically (including rainbow families)
- Children who usually reside with another person (e.g. foster children)
- Children of partners
- Current and former relationships
- People living in the same house
- People living in the same residential facility and who are reliant on care (‘family like’)
- The carer of a person with a disability if the person regards the carer as a family member.
For LGBTIQ people, this can also include families of choice: friends and community members who play the role of family particularly where families of origin are unsupportive or estranged.
Intimate personal relationships may be monogamous, open or polyamorous, short or long term, live-in or not, married or not, or long distance, both physical and emotional, primarily physical or primarily emotional.