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Overview - Family and domestic violence

Last Modified: 27-Sep-2019 Review Date: N/A

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Family and domestic violence (FDV) is a pattern of behaviours intended to coerce, control and create fear within an intimate (current and former partners) or family relationship. Most perpetrators of FDV use a range of violent, abusive and controlling behaviours that include physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse, undermining or disrupting parenting, using or harming children to coerce or control their mother, financial abuse and social isolation[1]. The use of violence and abuse is deliberate, intentional and usually escalates over time. Children exposed to FDV can suffer significant harm to their wellbeing[2] including:

  • emotional harm where a child has been exposed to FDV
  • physical harm where a child has been hurt during a FDV assault, and
  • neglect where FDV is contributing to or causing an omission of care.

This chapter provides guidance and support tools for staff when responding to family and domestic violence including assessment, safety planning, engaging perpetrators and the benefit of Violence Restraining Orders (VROs). The purpose and role of the Family and Domestic Violence Response Teams (FDVRTs) is also discussed in this chapter.

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[1] Definition adapted with permission from No to Violence: Male Family Violence Prevention Association (2005)

[2] Wellbeing is a broad term inclusive of a child's health, safety, development and care.

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