Queensland Law Society

Definitions

Domestic and Family Violence is defined in two relevant Acts:

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)

Section 8 – Meaning of Domestic Violence
  1. Domestic violence means behaviour by a person (the first person) towards another person (the second person) with whom the first person is in a relevant relationship that—
    1. is physically or sexually abusive; or
    2. is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
    3. is economically abusive; or
    4. is threatening; or
    5. is coercive; or
    6. in any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes the second person to fear for the second person’s safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.
  2. Without limiting subsection (1), domestic violence includes the following behaviour—
    1. causing personal injury to a person or threatening to do so;
    2. coercing a person to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so;
    3. damaging a person’s property or threatening to do so;
    4. depriving a person of the person’s liberty or threatening to do so;
    5. threatening a person with the death or injury of the person, a child of the person, or someone else;
    6. threatening to commit suicide or self-harm so as to torment, intimidate or frighten the person to whom the behaviour is directed;
    7. causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, an animal, whether or not the animal belongs to the person to whom the behaviour is directed, so as to control, dominate or coerce the person;
    8. unauthorised surveillance of a person;
    9. unlawfully stalking a person.
  3. A person who counsels or procures someone else to engage in behaviour that, if engaged in by the person, would be domestic violence is taken to have committed domestic violence.
  4. To remove any doubt, it is declared that, for behaviour mentioned in subsection (2) that may constitute a criminal offence, a court may make an order under this Act on the basis that the behaviour is domestic violence even if the behaviour is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
  5. In this section—
    1. coerce, a person, means compel or force a person to do, or refrain from doing, something.
    2. unauthorised surveillance, of a person, means the unreasonable monitoring or tracking of the person’s movements, activities or interpersonal associations without the person’s consent, including, for example, by using technology.
      Examples of surveillance by using technology—
      reading a person's SMS messages
      monitoring a person’s email account or internet browser history
      monitoring a person’s account with a social networking internet site
      using a GPS device to track a person’s movements

      checking the recorded history in a person’s GPS device
    3. unlawful stalking see the Criminal Code, section 359B.
Section 9 – Meaning of associated domestic violence

Associated domestic violence means behaviour mentioned in section 8(1) by a respondent towards—

  1. a child of an aggrieved; or
  2. a child who usually lives with an aggrieved; or
  3. a relative of an aggrieved; or
  4. an associate of an aggrieved.
Section 10 – Meaning of exposed to domestic violence

A child is exposed to domestic violence if the child sees or hears domestic violence or otherwise experiences the effects of domestic violence.

Examples of being exposed to domestic violence—

  • overhearing threats of physical abuse
  • overhearing repeated derogatory taunts, including racial taunts
  • experiencing financial stress arising from economic abuse
  • seeing or hearing an assault
  • comforting or providing assistance to a person who has been physically abused
  • observing bruising or other injuries of a person who has been physically abused
  • cleaning up a site after property has been damaged
  • being present at a domestic violence incident that is attended by police officers
Section 11 – Meaning of emotional or psychological abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse means behaviour by a person towards another person that torments, intimidates, harasses or is offensive to the other person.

Examples—

  • following a person when the person is out in public, including by vehicle or on foot remaining outside a person’s residence or place of work
  • repeatedly contacting a person by telephone, SMS message, email or social networking site without the person’s consent
  • repeated derogatory taunts, including racial taunts
  • threatening to disclose a person’s sexual orientation to the person’s friends or family without the person’s consent
  • threatening to withhold a person’s medication
  • preventing a person from making or keeping connections with the person’s family, friends or culture, including cultural or spiritual ceremonies or practices, or preventing the person from expressing the person’s cultural identity
Section 12 – Meaning of economic abuse

Economic abuse means behaviour by a person (the first person) that is coercive, deceptive or unreasonably controls another person (the second person), without the second person’s consent— 

  1. in a way that denies the second person the economic or financial autonomy the second person would have had but for that behaviour; or
  2. by withholding or threatening to withhold the financial support necessary for meeting the reasonable living expenses of the second person or a child, if the second person or the child is entirely or predominantly dependent on the first person for financial support to meet those living expenses.

Examples—

  • coercing a person to relinquish control over assets and income
  • removing or keeping a person’s property without the person’s consent, or threatening to do so
  • disposing of property owned by a person, or owned jointly with a person, against the person’s wishes and without lawful excuse
  • without lawful excuse, preventing a person from having access to joint financial assets for the purposes of meeting normal household expenses
  • preventing a person from seeking or keeping employment coercing a person to claim social security payments
  • coercing a person to sign a power of attorney that would enable the person’s finances to be managed by another person
  • coercing a person to sign a contract for the purchase of goods or services coercing a person to sign a contract for the provision of finance, a loan or credit coercing a person to sign a contract of guarantee
  • coercing a person to sign any legal document for the establishment or operation of a business

Family Law Act – Section 4AB

  1. For the purposes of this Act, family violence means violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family (the family member), or causes the family member to be fearful.
  2. Examples of behaviour that may constitute family violence include (but are not limited to):
    1. an assault; or
    2. a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; or
    3. stalking; or
    4. repeated derogatory taunts; or
    5. intentionally damaging or destroying property; or
    6. intentionally causing death or injury to an animal; or
    7. unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had; or
    8. unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member, or his or her child, at a time when the family member is entirely or predominantly dependent on the person for financial support; or
    9. preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture; or
    10. unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member’s family, of his or her liberty.
  3. For the purposes of this Act, a child is exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence.
  4. Examples of situations that may constitute a child being exposed to family violence include (but are not limited to) the child:
    1. overhearing threats of death or personal injury by a member of the child’s family towards another member of the child’s family; or
    2. seeing or hearing an assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family; or
    3. comforting or providing assistance to a member of the child’s family who has been assaulted by another member of the child’s family; or
    4. cleaning up a site after a member of the child’s family has intentionally damaged property of another member of the child’s family; or
    5. being present when police or ambulance officers attend an incident involving the assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family.