What is family violence?

Family violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships.

Men who use violence against their female partners are perpetrating family violence. Some other examples of what family violence can look like include:

  • Adult children financially abusing an elderly parent
  • A man with a disability being sexually abused by his carer
  • Teenage children being verbally abusive to siblings or parents
  • A parent cutting off a child because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Discrimination and inequality mean some people will experience more severe forms or higher rates of family violence, including:

  • First Nations people
  • LGBTIQ+ people
  • People from migrant and refugee backgrounds
  • People with disabilities.
If you are experiencing family violence, concerned for your safety, or in an emergency situation please call 000 for urgent police assistance. 

If you need support or advice, please reach out to a recommended specialist support service.
Statistics sources
  1. Diemer, K. (2015). ABS Personal Safety Survey: Additional analysis on relationship and sex of perpetrator. Documents and working papers, Research on violence against women and children. University of Melbourne.
  2. Hill, A. O., Bourne, A., McNair, R., Carman, M. & Lyons, A. (2020) “Private Lives 3: The health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people in Australia,” Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.
  3. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Research Paper 17 (2020).
  4. Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (2021) Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability in Australia.
  5. Mathews B et al. (2023) The prevalence of child maltreatment in Australia: findings from a national survey. Med J Aust. 218 (6). Prevalence of maltreatment in young people aged 16-24 years.
  6. Fitz-Gibbon, K., Meyer, S., Boxall, H., Maher, J., & Roberts, S. (2022). Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of prevalence, history of childhood victimisation and impacts (Research report, 15/2022). ANROWS.
  7. ABS Personal Safety Survey 2021-22.