Message from the Chief Commissioner


Release date: Mon 14 August 2017

Last updated: Wed 22 November 2017

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What is family violence? What does the law say?

The Victorian Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines family violence as behaviour by a family member that creates fear and control over their partner, ex-partner or other family members.

These behaviours can include:

  • Physical assault (e.g. hitting, pushing, burning or choking, rough or neglectful care giving)
  • Sexual violence (e.g. being forced to perform sexual acts)
  • Financial abuse (e.g. withholding money, food, medicine, property damage, or dowry related abuse)
  • Psychological and/or verbal abuse (such as threats, repeated put downs, name calling, sexist, racist, ageist, ablest or homophobic abuse)
  • Causing a child to hear, see or be aware of violent acts (for example by hearing fights, seeing injuries or damage).

Children are negatively affected by family violence and can be legally protected.

What is a family?

The law defines family broadly to include:

  • Intimate partners (e.g. husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, defactos, same sex partners)
  • Ex-partners
  • Children, siblings, adult children
  • Step family (e.g. mother's new partner or father's new partner or their children)
  • A relative or extended family such as a grandparent, father-in-law or mother-in-law, aunt, uncle, blended or cultural family member
  • A carer who is like a family member.

If you consider someone to be part of your family and their actions are making you, or other family members, fearful - ask for advice and help.

See the links on the side or bottom of this page.

The Magistrates Court has a series of films about family violence.

For people who are deaf or communicate using Auslan, 1800 Respect (a national telephone support line for sexual assault and family violence) has a film with information on family violence how to get support.

Freedom from violence is a human right

Everyone has the right to be free of violence or the fear of violence.

Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected in their family and relationships.

Family violence occurs in all communities, cultures and socio-economic groups.

Family violence is not considered acceptable in any part of any culture.

In Australia, family violence is against the law.

Victoria Police is here to help people in need and to uphold the law.

How can police help?

Victoria Police will act to protect people harmed by family violence, and to prohibit any more violent actions or behaviour from the person who has harmed their partner and/or family.

The Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence directs how Victoria Police responds to family violence.

For more information about what police do when family violence is reported see 'reporting family violence'

To download and print information on this page, go to the publications page.

The Exit Site Button

The Exit Site button at the top of this page will Exit you from the Victoria Police website quickly.

It also deactivates the 'back button' so an immediate return back to the Victoria Police website is not possible.

It does not remove your browser history.

If you think your computer use is being monitored - you may want to remove the browser history

The e-safety Commissioner's e-safety web site can assist with how to do this, and provide more information on technology and safety. 

In an emergency call Triple Zero (000).

An emergency includes:

  • when someone has been, or is about to be, injured 
  • property damage or threatened property damage
  • or any other criminal acts
  • that need a response now. 

If English is not your first language, call Triple Zero (000) tell them your language, they will connect an interpreter.

The National Relay Service is an Australia-wide phone service for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. You can click the orange button at the top or bottom of each page to go to their home page or go to their emergency call pages.

 For more information see


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