Message from the Chief Commissioner


Release date: Thu 1 January 2015

Last updated: Thu 27 April 2017

Family Violence

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Information is provided to help encourage you to report family violence to police and / or to seek help for yourself or others.

Victoria Police has provided information on police processes, the law, your reporting options, what may happen after you report family violence and how to get help.

If you are looking for information about court processes related to family violence, or services, you will find links below that can direct you to the right information.

We understand that it can be difficult to report your experience to us. Knowing more about what may happen could make it a bit easier.


What is family violence?

Family violence is against the law.

The Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines what 'family' means and what family violence is, for the purposes of establishing whether crimes have been committed.

Broad family, past relationships and 'family-like' relationships are included in the law. Many people are surprised at what is defined as family violence these days. While family violence includes serious physical assault by a live-in partner it also includes psychological and emotional abuse, sexual assault and economic abuse among other behaviours.

The Act states:

Family violence is any behaviour that in any way controls or dominates a family member and causes them to feel fear for their own, or other family member's safety or well-being.   It can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic abuse and any behaviour that causes a child to hear, witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of that behaviour.

A violent family member may use several forms of abuse and violence over time. An ongoing pattern of control, intimidation and fear is the most usual pattern of family violence that police respond to.

You may not know whether the family violence you are concerned about is a criminal offence or not, but that is the responsibility of police to determine. . If something has happened, or is continuing to happen, that makes you fearful or doubtful we encourage you to come and speak with us as soon as possible.

Even if there is not enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, any form of family violence is unacceptable and Victoria Police also have non-criminal options that they can use to keep you safe and to make sure that the perpetrator is held to account and can get the help they need.

Most people have heard of intervention orders these days. They intend to prevent unsafe contact between you, any affected children and the person who is violent. The thing you need to know first is that you do not need to take out your own intervention order. If you report family violence and police are aware that you are not safe, they should take out an order or a family violence safety notice on your behalf. You can go to the court and apply for one if you decide not to involve police.

Need more information? Visit Support and welfare information

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