The Federation Press

Domestic Violence in Australia

The legal response


This edition of Domestic Violence in Australia examines the different and in some cases quite disparate legal responses to domestic violence.

It considers the extent of family violence, some of the causes or triggers of family violence and why women often do not leave violent relationships. It also provides details of useful resources such as Centrelink entitlements and lists of appropriate places for support and advice.

It also considers criminal law responses and the role, powers and culture of the police as well as looking at injunctions and restraining orders available under the Family Law Act and the relevance of violence in disputes over children and matrimonial property. State and Territory remedies that are of general usage and not specifically in relation to family violence are detailed, including the peace complaint, injunctions and, most importantly, compensation for injuries incurred or property damage sustained.

Finally the various protective orders available in each State and Territory are examined. The different requirements and procedures for obtaining these orders as well as different effects and consequences for breaches are covered.

The book is an exceptionally useful up-to-date tool that provides the law and related information on domestic violence around Australia in one single text.


Alexander successfully provides readers with an in-depth picture of the operation of domestic violence legislation around Australia. ... A good knowledge of legal remedies and non-legal; remedies such as the available support service for medical treatment and accommodation is essential for those who work with the victim in day-to-day practice, such as the police, court personnel, legal practitioners and community workers. Practitioners will find the material in this chapter useful when assisting domestic violence victims, as it includes a list of legal resources and social services and a checklist of practical questions that helpers have in mind. ... [The book] provides an excellent review of the current legal responses to domestic violence in Australian jurisdictions. I would recommend the book ... - Journal of Family Studies, Vol 10(1), April 2004

[A]n invaluable text for anyone whose work brings him/her into contact with this issue. From the outset, the author ... stresses that a holistic, interagency approach is required. ... This book is an excellent resource for providing clients [of family therapists and other counsellors] with accurate and essential information about the legal avenues for addressing domestic violence. - ANZ Journal of Family Therapy, Vol 24(3), September 2003

This practical guide ... will make useful reading for anyone involved in providing services/assistance to victims of domestic violence. - Family Matters, No 62, Winter 2002

A fantastic reference for lawyers, Domestic Violence in Australia: the Legal Response serves also as a functional summary for social workers and anyone involved in the support of families disrupted by violence. ... Ms Alexander explains practically every option the law provides to victims of domestic violence. She also analyses their relative merits. - Law Institute Journal (Vic), December 2002

This exceptionally useful book explains the wide range of available legal responses to domestic violence in each Australian jurisdiction. - Educational Book Review (India), Nov-Dec 2002

Table of Contents

Domestic Violence - What Helpers Need to Know
Incidence, causes and patterns
The victim
Legal centres specialising in Social Security Law

The Criminal Law
The criminal law and protection orders
Low prosecution rate
Entry into the house
Does the criminal law provide adequate protection?

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
The relevance of violence in Family Court proceedings
Non-molestation and non-violence injunctions

Other Non Specific Remedies
The Peace Complaint
State Court injunctions

Protection Orders
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia

Table of Cases/ Table of Statutes/ Index

Of interest...