Chapters

Family violence isn’t just hitting. The Family Violence Act (Tas) 2004 defines family violence as any of the following types of conduct committed by a person directly or indirectly, against that persons spouse or partner:

  • assault, including sexual assault;
  • threats, coercion intimidation or verbal abuse;
  • abduction;
  • stalking;
  • economic abuse; and
  • emotional abuse or intimidation.

Family violence has serious social, economic and health consequences for victims, their families and communities. Family violence is not only unlawful but in many instances can amount to serious criminal conduct.

If you are being coerced into sex against your will, this is rape. A relationship does not give either party sexual rights over the other person. A partner calling you names, or putting you down is a form of abuse – a person can be hurt emotionally and mentally as well as physically, and it is the emotional and mental harm that creates patterns of victimisation, by creating feelings of worthlessness in the victim.

The Family Violence Act 2004 has extended the definition of family violence beyond physical harm to other forms of harm that create abusive relationships. Just as you cannot force someone to sign a contract, or sell you their property, you cannot force someone to stay in a relationship or take their property because you are in a relationship, or force them to do what you want. Just as threatening, intimidating or verbally abusing a coworker is harassment, and against the law, so is doing the same to a member of a household.

Family violence and children

Research has shown that children are not better off in a home with both parents where they are witnessing or experiencing family violence. The trauma experienced by children in violent homes is similar to that of people suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. Any violence in the home traumatises a child – whether seeing, hearing or observing the effects of violence.

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