Quick Exit

Family and Domestic violence

Family violence occurs when a family member uses or threatens to use violence against another family member and/or abusive behaviour to control another family member or members.

Family violence can include but is not limited to:

  • physical violence: such as slapping, punching, kicking, grabbing and pushing;
  • sexual assault and other sexually abusive behaviour;
  • economic abuse;
  • emotional or psychological abuse;
  • stalking;
  • kidnapping or depravation of liberty;
  • damage to property;
  • causing injury or death to an animal irrespective of whether the victim owns the animal; and 
  • behaviour by the person using violence that causes a child to be exposed to the effect of any of the behaviour referred to above. 

Family violence can happen to anyone in the community. 

Sometimes deciding whether to report family violence to police can be difficult. There are agencies that can support you to do this.

Many people report family violence to police because they are frightened and want the violence to stop. Some people choose to report because someone has harmed them and/or may harm others in the future.

In the ACT police receive specific training to deal with incidents of family violence. They work with victim support agencies such as the Domestic Violence Crisis Service(DVCS) to ensure that victims of family violence are well supported and informed.

When family violence is reported to police there are a number of things that police can do:

  • investigate whether a criminal offence has been committed and if it has, police may charge the offender;
  • remove the perpetrator from the home for a limited period of time;
  • obtain an emergency protection order from the court on behalf of a person, either to prevent family violence occurring, or to protect a person from further harm; and
  • under an agreement with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service police will, with your permission, ask one of their workers to attend at your location to support you.

The police cannot charge people with criminal offences for all aspects of family violence.

If there are children who have been exposed to family violence, police may report the incident to Care and Protection Services.