Conducts comprising psychological and emotional abuse vary from state to state.
There are states in Australia that deals with conducts treated as economic abuse which was not tackled in other states. Generally speaking, however, the following conducts are the basis for protection order:
- Physical injuries to a person or animals
- Harassment, intimidation or offensive behavior
- Deprivation of liberty
- Damage to property
- Other behaviours that carry out the abovementioned conducts
Domestic and Family Violence Act of Victoria recognized the effect of psychological and emotional abuse to the victim. Under section 7 of the said Act, behaviour displayed by one person directed towards another person which torments intimidates, harasses or offensive to the latter constitute conduct which is a ground for a protection order. Any repeated derogatory remarks against another person committed by a person which include racial taunt are considered as psychologically abusive behaviours.
Any threat to withhold a person’s medication or preventing the person from expressing or practising his or her culture also constitute emotional and psychological abuse. Even the threat to commit suicide or cause physical harm to another person in order to torment a family member is a behaviour which can form a basis for the issuance of the protection order.
Economic abuse is also a ground for the issuance of a protection order in Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. It is defined in section 8 of the Domestic and Family Violence Act of the Northern Territory as a coercive behaviour towards a person so he or she will relinquish control over assets and income.
In South Australia’s Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act, specifically in section 8(5), economic abuse is committed if a person without lawful excuse prevents another to access joint financial account or asset. It is also committed if a person is prevented by another from seeking or keeping employment. It is also an economic abuse if a person was coerced to sign a power of attorney enabling the coercing person to handle the finances of the coerced person.
The States have different requirements on how a protection order can be issued like for example in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria where past incidents of family abuse must be established first. In New South Wales and Northern Territory, it is required that the victim has fear of violence before the protection order is issued.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.