Domestic violence is often a complex issue to deal with under family law. This is because cases that involve abuse from one partner to another often go unreported. In fact, many victims of domestic violence often don't realize that they are undergoing domestic violence. In addition, perpetrators of domestic violence don't realize the full extent of their actions.
It therefore helps for everyone to clearly understand what domestic violence is, how it is defined, and the many forms it can take. Raising awareness about domestic violence can make it easier for victims to seek the required help under family law.
Defining Domestic Violence
Under Australian law, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is directed towards one partner in an intimate relationship. The abuse is normally aimed at gaining or maintaining control over the other person.
While most people think of domestic violence in the form of physical abuse, it can also take on many different forms. Some of these include:
Sexual abuse in the relationship involves any unwanted attempts at forcing sexual contact on the victim without their consent. Cases of marital rape, physical violence that is followed by forced sexual advances, and any attacks on the victim's body parts all qualify for sexual abuse in the relationship.
Domestic violence can also manifest itself as emotional abuse. This involves demeaning the victim's self worth/self-esteem by repeatedly criticizing and interfering with the victim's relationships with their children or others.
It can also take the form of constant name calling and interfering with the victim's ability to engage in other activities.
Economic abuse often occurs when the abuser tries to impose financial control over the victim so that they may become financially dependent on them. This often occurs when the abuser prevents the victim from accessing their resources or going to work/school.
Physical abuse often includes any forceful physical contact that a person imposes on their partner. This includes hitting, biting, burning, cutting, or forcing drugs/alcohol on the partner.
All types of domestic violence and their repercussions are stipulated under Australian family law.
Common Victims of Domestic Violence
There are many people who can fall victim to domestic violence. Victims involve more than just the wife or female members of the relationship. They can also include the following:
- Spouses and intimate partners (both male and female)
- Cohabitants in the same home
- Other Family members
The role of a family lawyer
If you or a loved one is undergoing any form of domestic violence, a family lawyer can help. These professionals can mediate the process and begin by outing a stop to the abuse. Thereafter, steps can be taken to resolve the cause of the domestic violence occurrence or to keep victims and children at a safe distance from perpetual domestic abusers.