What is the legal definition of domestic violence?
Domestic violence includes behaviour that is:
Physically or sexually abusive.
Emotionally or psychologically abusive. Behaviour is emotionally or psychologically abusive if it torments, intimidates, harasses or is offensive to another person.
In any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes the second person to fear for their safety or wellbeing or for that of someone else.
Domestic violence includes the following behaviour:
Causing or threatening to cause personal injury to someone
Coercing a person to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so
Damaging or threatening to damage a person’s property
Depriving a person of their liberty or threatening to do so
Threatening to commit suicide or self-harm so as to torment, intimidate or frighten the person to whom the behaviour is directed
Causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, any animal so as to control, dominate or coerce the person;
Unauthorised surveillance of a person
Unlawfully stalking a person.
Intimidation and Harassment
Whether behavior is intimidating or harassing is for a Court to decide. It is not enough for a person to allege they felt intimidated or harassed.
The Court does not need to find a person intended the behavior to be intimidating or to harass.
The table below lists examples of what the Court has found:
Is unlawful intimidation and harassment.
Isnot unlawful intimidation and harassment.
Repeated derogatory comments about a person’s mental health.
Behaviour that does not cause someone to feel intimidated or harassed.
Loitering around a person’s home or work.
Behaviour of which a person is unaware.
False accusations against a person, especially for a collateral purpose.
Chance encounters even if a person finds them upsetting
Deliberately driving in a way a person found unsafe even if it was objectively appropriate.
Refusing to discuss a matter with a person.
Repeated complaints to regulatory authorities.
Not doing what another person wants to do.
Standing close to a person to prevent them having a private conversation.
Using a recording device on a single occasion to protect a position.
Repeated derogatory comments
about a person’s mental health.
Loitering around a person’s
home or work.
False accusations against a
person for a collateral purpose.
Deliberately driving in a way a
person found unsafe even if it
was objectively appropriate.
Repeated complaints to
Standing close to a person to
prevent them having a private
Behaviour that does not cause
someone to feel intimidated or
Behaviour of which a person is not
Chance encounters even if a person
finds them upsetting
Refusing to discuss a matter with
Not doing what another person
wants to do.
Using a recording device on a
single occasion to protect a
Economic abuse is behaviour that is coercive, deceptive or unreasonably controls another person without that person’s consent by either:
Denying economic or financial autonomy.
Withholding or threatening to withhold the financial support necessary for meeting the reasonable living expenses of that person or a child, if that person or child is entirely or predominantly dependent.
Examples of economic abuse include:
Forcing a person to relinquish control over assets and income.
Removing or keeping a person’s property without their consent, or threatening to do so.
Disposing of property owned by a person or jointly owned against the person’s wishes.
Stopping a person from having access to joint financial assets to meet household expenses.
Stopping a person from seeking or keeping employment.
Forcing a person to claim social security payments.
Forcing a person to sign a power of attorney that would enable the person’s finance to be managed by another.
Forcing a person to sign a contract for the purchase of goods or services or the provision of finance, a loan or credit.
Forcing a person to sign any legal document for the establishment or operation of a business.
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