The Difference Between Family Violence and Domestic Abuse — What to Know

The Difference Between Family Violence and Domestic Abuse—What to Know

The Difference Between Family Violence and Domestic Abuse — What to Know

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Did you know 265 people were killed by a family member or domestic partner in Queensland from July 2006 to April 2018? That’s according to the Queensland Court’s domestic and family homicide overview.

Apart from this, many Australians have been physically and emotionally abused without them reporting such cases. Hence, domestic violence has been deemed a legal priority in Australia’s area of criminal law due to its many negative repercussions.

In this article, we’ll explore what domestic violence is and learn the difference between domestic abuse and family violence. See if you need to hire a family lawyer for your specific case.

Various forms of domestic violence

Domestic violence may be considered any form of abuse experienced in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. However, it’s essential to understand that there are various forms of domestic violence. In a legal perspective, it can be defined by the following:

  • Physical violence – This causes minor or long-term injury.
  • Sexual abuse – This covers engaging in non-consensual sexual actions.
  • Verbal threats – This includes ongoing aggravating language.
  • Emotional or psychological blackmail – This is a form of manipulation.
  • Financial constraints – Monetary restrictions are imposed on an individual.

Family violence vs. domestic abuse

The terms “family violence” and “domestic abuse” are often used interchangeably. It’s essential to define the difference between the two to understand this area of law.

A family violence offence is committed by a family member against another family member. On the other hand, domestic abuse is when an individual commits an abuse to an intimate partner. The difference lies in the relationship between the offender and the victim—not the crime’s nature.

It’s worth knowing that all abuse cases at home, whether committed by a family member or domestic partner, are covered under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012.

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 was introduced back in 2012 as a response to a growing concern that abuse cases weren’t allowing victims to seek and secure criminal justice. This act covers cases of domestic abuse concerning:

  • Victims: They are known as the ‘aggrieved’ who have the right to protection.
  • Offenders: They are known as ‘respondents’ who have the right to pursue legal options as a response to domestic violence cases.
  • Other individuals: They may be dependents, such as children, other family members, and intimate partners involved in an abuse case.

The domestic abuse protection order

The domestic abuse protection order offers a victim some form of relief from family violence. This form of restraining order prevents the abuser from coming in contact with the aggrieved. This order is a legal instruction made through Queensland Family Court.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you receive an order where an individual seeks protection against you, you have three options to take:

  • Consent to the order
  • Reject the order
  • Adjourn your decision


Family violence and domestic abuse are taken seriously by the courts of Queensland. Should you get into such cases, you have the right to seek legal actions against the abuser. Ultimately, getting a family lawyer can make all the difference. We’re a Springfield law centre with a team of legal experts, specialising in family law, property and business conveyancing, and income protection and succession planning. If you need a family lawyer to handle family violence or domestic abuse cases, get in touch with us today!

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