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Family Violence Against Men

Family violence refers to violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that is committed by a person against a member of their family, causing the victim to be fearful. There is a high prevalence of family violence in matters that come before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA)  Whilst the women and children are often the victims of family violence, there is a significant number of cases involving family violence against men.

Examples of Family Violence Against Men

Examples of family violence against men may include:

  • physical assault – slapping, hitting, scratching.
  • emotional and psychological abuse – belittling remarks, yelling, screaming, put-downs, being ignored, constant criticism.
  • limited decision making – having all decisions relating to finances, purchases, lifestyle and living arrangements made for you.
  • social isolation – being unreasonably restricted from your family or friends.
  • dominating behaviour – behaviour designed to deliberately frighten, harm or control you, for example: threatening to harm you, themselves or someone else.

Reasons Men May Stay in Violent Relationships

Possible reasons why men may choose to remain in a violent relationship include:

  • children– parents worry that if you leave the home, they may not be able to see their children, or their partner may harm them.
  • feelings of shame – many men may feel ashamed that they have been ‘overpowered’ by their partner.
  • religious beliefs about marriage – parties to a violent relationship may feel that they cannot leave the relationship due to their religious views.
  • lack of social supports – male victims of family violence may feel that their friends and family won’t believe that they are the victim of family violence.
  • hope that the situation will improve – many victims may hope that their abusive partner will change.

What The Courts Can Do

No matter the form of family violence against men, or the reason behind a male victim’s reluctance to leave an abusive relationship, it is important to know that the family law applies in the same way, regardless of the gender of the victim or the perpetrator. Fathers who are victims of family violence may find this comforting as the FCFCA will always consider the best interest of children as paramount, and those best interests may, for example, mean that the court orders for children to live with victim fathers in order to avoid any risk of harm posed by the violent parent.

The FCFCA also has the power to make orders for the personal protection of persons involved in family law proceedings, including male victims of family violence.

If you would like legal advice in relation to family violence against men or any other legal matter contact Armstrong Legal on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.

Felicity Reeman - Senior Associate – Sydney

This article was written by Felicity Reeman - Senior Associate – Sydney

Felicity graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Juris Doctor. Prior to studying law, she gained a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons.) and a Graduate Diploma of Psychology from the University of Sydney. She previously worked as a clinical social worker for 6 years in one of Sydney’s largest teaching hospitals bringing that invaluable knowledge and experience...

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