Domestic violence is a pressing societal issue that affects countless individuals, transcending cultural, economic, and geographical boundaries.
In New South Wales (NSW), comprehensive legislation is in place to combat domestic violence and protect victims from abuse within their own homes. This article delves into the different types of domestic violence offences in NSW, providing pertinent examples of charges that perpetrators may face.
Understanding Domestic Violence in NSW
Domestic violence refers to a pattern of physical, emotional, psychological, or financial abusive behaviour within an intimate or familial relationship. The NSW Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 explicitly defines domestic violence as behaviour that intentionally instils fear, controls, or dominates another person, causing them to be fearful for their safety or well-being. It can occur between spouses, de facto partners, family members, or people with close personal relationships.
Types of Domestic Violence Offences
Physical abuse constitutes using force to inflict harm, injury, or pain on the victim. Examples include hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, choking, or using weapons to cause bodily harm.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Emotional abuse involves using manipulative tactics to demean, belittle, humiliate, or isolate the victim. Perpetrators may use gaslighting, threats, insults, or controlling behaviour to exert power over their partner or family member.
Sexual abuse within a domestic setting includes any non-consensual sexual activity, unwanted sexual advances, or coercive actions designed to exploit the victim sexually.
Economic abuse is the control of financial resources to limit a victim’s autonomy and independence. Perpetrators may withhold money, restrict access to finances, or force victims to provide financial support against their will.
Stalking and Harassment
Stalking and harassment involve persistent and unwelcome behaviour that causes the victim to fear for their safety or wellbeing. This includes cyberstalking through digital means like social media or email.
Examples of Charges for Domestic Violence Offences
- Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH): This charge applies when a person causes physical injury or harm to another person, and the injury requires medical attention.
- Common Assault: A common assault charge applies when a person uses force to cause apprehension of immediate physical harm without actual physical contact.
- Sexual Assault: When a person sexually assaults another person without their consent, it constitutes a sexual assault charge.
- Stalking or Intimidation: A charge for stalking or intimidation applies when a person engages in a course of conduct that harasses, intimidates, or causes fear in another individual.
- Breach of Apprehended Violence Order (AVO): An AVO is a court order designed to protect a victim from domestic violence. A charge arises if the offender breaches the conditions of the AVO.