The law’s treatment of family violence
Both civil and criminal legislation provide legal remedies for family violence.
Civil law remedies for family violence
Civil law offers those experiencing family violence some future protection from the perpetrator of the violence.
Court orders that protect family members can be sought under both federal and state civil law. Federal law includes injunctions or restraining orders under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
However, state civil law provides quicker, cheaper, more accessible, and more effective protection under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) (‘FVP Act’) by way of family violence intervention orders.
People who experience personal violence but are not family members (e.g. neighbours, co-tenants or acquaintances), and who are not covered by the FVP Act, can apply for a personal safety intervention order under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic).
Criminal law remedies for family violence
Family members experiencing violence can also pursue remedies under criminal law.
Charges for criminal offences (e.g. assault) can be laid by police to punish the offender and try to prevent future abuse.
Any criminal charges are in addition to, and not to the exclusion of, civil proceedings for future protection, such as intervention orders.
It is also possible to obtain compensation for injuries caused through family violence.