Children and Family Violence

If there has been family violence and you are in Court you must file a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence, or Risk of Family Violence. The Court needs to be aware of the violence so that they can make Orders that protect you and your children.

 The Family Law Act defines family violence as violence, threatening or other behaviour that coerces on controls a family member or causes them fear. Examples of family violence include:

  • assault;
  • sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour;
  • stalking;
  • repeated derogatory taunts;
  • intentionally damaging or destroying property;
  • intentionally causing death or injury to an animal;
  • unreasonably denying the family member financial independence or withholding financial support to meet reasonable living expenses;
  • preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with their family, friends or culture; or
  • unlawfully depriving the family member of their liberty.

Child Protection Services will be notified if you file a Notice.

Even if you are not involved in Court proceedings, Child Protection may become aware of family violence. There are laws that require adults in positions such as counsellors, teachers, doctors, child care workers and nurses to report any instances of family violence that involve children.

This may be where children have been hurt through acts of family violence but also where the children may have seen, heard or observed the aftermath of family violence.

If the child protection services have reason to believe that children are at risk through family violence, they may order that the children be kept away from the perpetrator or they will remove them from the care of the parent they are currently living with if they consider the parent is not protecting the children.

Family violence within a relationship can affect the way the law works. It is important to let your lawyer know if you have experienced, or are experiencing, family violence.