understanding the law on domestic violence in australia

The issue of domestic violence is extremely serious. Violence in relationships was hidden and ignored yesteryear. Tens of thousands of cases are reported in Australia each year, and even more, go unreported. Today the system works better than it used to. Divorce arbitration and adequate legal support mean that more is being done to ensure people are safe and children are protected. Domestic abuse can come in many forms and none of them is acceptable. Here is a closer look at what you might need to know.

Law provision with parenting arrangements

Laws are there to protect not just your personal safety but also your children from family and domestic violence. To keep a violent former partner away you can have an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) also known as a restraining order, filed. Talking to your family lawyer is a great way to learn everything that you can do to protect your family. Your family lawyer can also guide you on what other resources there are available, and provide advice as to what an AVO entails when it comes to parenting arrangements.

Many AVOs do place restrictions on the abuser, for example, to prevent them not just from going too close to you, but also too close to your children, their school and so on. It is possible though, that you have been served with an AVO or summons inappropriately. In these cases, your family lawyer can act on your behalf to defend you against the AVO. Your lawyer can work with the system to achieve something you agree is fairer for your situation if the AVO is damaging and inaccurate.

Identifying signs someone around you is dealing with abuse

There is no single sign that fits every situation when it comes to family and domestic violence. Some might include;

  • Becoming withdrawn, not seeing people or attending social events as much
  • Being anxious when their partner is around
  • Being irritable or other personality changes
  • Checking in with their partner obsessively
  • Not going anywhere without their partner
  • Overdressing to hide injuries even on hot days
  • Signs of bruising and injuries, seemingly being more accident-prone
  • Having to ask permission to spend money on even everyday things

How do you deal with violence?

Violence comes in a number of forms, not just physical. It might also include sexual violence, verbal attacks and emotional abuse, being over-controlling with finances, social outings and so on. If you think someone you know is in danger you should call the police. If you feel you are in danger or your children are in danger, then the most important thing is to make yourselves safe. Make arrangements with someone you trust so you can go without having to call ahead. If you do not have anyone, find the details of some local refuge. You should also seek legal advice. Make sure you talk to your children about what is happening and how things are going to change.


Divorce arbitration can result in a fair and successful outcome if there has been abuse in a marriage. Talk to your lawyers, and they can guide you accordingly.