Despite the increase in public campaigns to raise awareness of domestic and family violence, statistics show that a large majority of society remain unaware of its prevalence. In family law, domestic and family violence remains a constant theme in both parenting and property disputes.
In 2011, as a direct response to the rise in domestic violence, the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 (Cth) was enacted at a federal level. This legislation, amongst others expanded the definition of family violence in the Family Law Act 1975, providing a more comprehensive guideline for legal practitioners and the Family Law Courts to more adequately address family violence and safety risks for children.
A common misconception in society is that domestic violence requires the infliction of actual violence against the victim. In fact, domestic violence encapsulates significantly more than that including coercing or controlling a member of a person’s family or acting in a way that causes a member of a persons family to be fearful for their personal safety.
A few examples of acts that may constitute family violence, expressly referred to in the Family Law Act include: unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy they would otherwise have had; unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member; and preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with their friends or family.
It is a sad truth that the issue of family violence does arise in some of the cases that Atkinson Vinden handles each year. We are usually contacted on a highly confidential basis, as a person will often be seeking advice about their situation before they are ready to take the major step of advising their partner that they wish to end the relationship. If you need support in this area, we are keen to assist.