The Family Violence Protection Act (2008) defines family violence as :

(Victorian Legal Definition)

1) Behavior that is:

  • Physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive;
  • Threatening or coercive;
  • Controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or well-being of that family member or another person,


2)    Behaviour that causes a child to hear, witness or otherwise be exposed to the effects of any behaviour referred to above.


The Victorian Indigenous Family Violence Task Force (2003) defined family violence as:

“The Dhelk Dja definition of family violence also acknowledges the impact of violence by non-Aboriginal people against Aboriginal partners, children, young people and extended family on spiritual and cultural rights, which manifests as exclusion or isolation from Aboriginal culture and/ or community. The Dhelk Dja definition includes Elder abuse and the use of lateral violence within Aboriginal communities. It also emphasises the impact of family violence on children.

The definition also recognises that the cycle of family violence brings people into contact with many different parts of the service system, and efforts to reduce violence and improve outcomes for Aboriginal people and children must work across family violence services; police, the justice system and the courts; housing and homelessness services; children and family services; child protection and out-of-home care; and health, mental health, and substance abuse.”

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander understanding of family violence recognises that, perpetrators are not only intimate partners but can also include any familial or domestic relationship or other relationships of mutual obligation and support, including mothers, fathers, children, aunties, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and cousins.” – As Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families Towards a safer future for Indigenous families and communities