The purpose of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 is to promote safety for people who have experienced family violence, reduce its prevalence, and increase accountability of family violence perpetrators.
The College has developed a Family Violence Bench Book, which provides a detailed explanation of the legislation and the social context of family violence.
The resources on this page complement those in the bench book by:
- providing a deeper exploration of the complex dynamics of family violence and explanation of coercive control and its significant impacts
- addressing some of the myths and misconceptions of family violence
Power and Control Wheel
The Power and control wheel identifies specific aspects of the power and control dynamic present in family violence matters.
At the centre of the wheel is 'POWER AND CONTROL'. The word 'VIOLENCE' is accompanied by the words 'PHYSICAL' and 'SEXUAL' on the outer rim. These terms on the rim of the circle demonstrate how power and control can be forced in an explicit way through sexual and physical means. The circle is divided into sections, demonstrating other ways power and control is wrongfully pervaded. The sections display clockwise:
Using intimidation – Making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures; smashing things; destroying her property; abusing pets; displaying weapons.
Using emotional abuse – Putting her down; making her feel bad about herself; calling her names; making her think she's crazy; playing mind games; humiliating her; making her feel guilty.
Using isolation – Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes; limiting her outside involvement; using jealousy to justify actions.
Minimizing, denying & blaming – Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn't happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behaviour; saying she caused it.
Using children – Making her feel guilty about the children; using the children to relay messages; using the visitation to harass her; threatening to take the children away.
Using male privilege – Treating her like a servant; making all the big decisions; acting like the 'master of the castle'; being the one to define men's and women's roles.
Using economic abuse – Preventing her from getting or keeping a job; making her ask for money; giving her an allowance; taking her money; not letting her know about or have access to family income.
Using coercion and threats – Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her; threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare; making her drop charges; making her do illegal things.
The Equality wheel helps articulate what a non-violent, equal relationship looks like.
At the centre of the wheel is 'EQUALITY'. The word 'NONVIOLENCE' is on the outer rim of the circle. In between, it is broken into sections signifying the linking components that lead to a non-violent and equal relationship. These sections display clockwise:
Non-threatening behaviour – Talking and acting so that she feels safe and comfortable expressing herself and doing things.
Respect – Listening to her non-judgementally; being emotionally affirming and understanding; valuing opinion.
Trust and support – Supporting her goals in life; respecting her right to her own feeling, friends, activities and opinions.
Honesty and accountability – Accepting responsibility for self; acknowledging past use of violence; admitting being wrong; communicating openly and truthfully.
Responsible parenting – Sharing parental responsibilities; being a positive non-violent role model for the children.
Shared responsibilities – Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work; making family decisions together.
Economic partnership – Making money decisions together; making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements.
Family violence can be difficult to identify and work with in a way that promotes safety. These resources provide practical information about how family violence may present, how you can assess risk, how to communicate with family violence perpetrators and how you can better understand trauma and counter-intuitive behaviour when it presents in your court or hearing room.
Engaging Men: Invitational-Narrative ApproachesAustralia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited (ANROWS) conducted the qualitative study Engaging men: Invitational-narrative approaches. Through a research report, podcast, and presentations, it explores how invitational narrative methods help to engage men and enable behavioural and attitudinal change.
Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM)The MARAM is the central tool used in Victoria for family violence risk assessment. It contains contextual information about family violence, including intersectionality, impacts and risk factors. It provides judicial officers with the information required to make modern and evidence-informed risk assessments in family violence cases.
Family Violence Risk FactorsThis document collates the risk factors identified in the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Framework (MARAM) and identifies those which are associated with an increased risk of the victim being killed or almost killed, and those where the evidence base is still emerging.
There have been significant amendments to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 since it was first enacted. The following guides assist in understanding these amendments:
Family Violence Protection Amendment Act 2017 GuideThis guide examines the first set of 2017 amendments, which adjusted the obligation to explain the order in court, changed the standard for protecting children who are not applicants, expanded the provisions on alternative service and allowed the use of pre-recorded evidence.
Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018 GuideThis guide explains the Commonwealth changes to the Family Law Act 1975 which affects State-based family violence proceedings. It clarifies the jurisdiction of State courts to exercise family law jurisdiction, simplified the law relating to State courts making interim variations to existing parenting and other orders and adjusted the summary dismissal provisions.
These checklists set out key steps in the family violence intervention order process, and ensure judicial officers have complied with all legislative requirements.
Victims of Crime in the Courtroom: A Guide for Judicial OfficersThis guide details considerations for judicial officers and court staff to limit re-traumatisation of victims and witnesses, and enhance opportunities for post-traumatic growth, without compromising the integrity of the criminal justice system. It covers the important role that judicial officers, police, prosecution, court staff and defence counsel can play in influencing a victim’s experience of the justice system.