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You may have moved here from a country where the husband or oldest male is the head of the family.
If your husband, fiancé, father, brother or other male in your family is:
then you are experiencing domestic and family violence.
He may have told you that you deserve the violence and abuse, but you don't deserve it. Domestic and family violence is wrong and is against the law in Australia.
Abuse and violence between husband and wife or between family members is a crime. Forcing you to have sex when you don't want to – even if you are married – is also a crime.
A person who is abusive and violent to their spouse or other family member could go to jail. Here, men and women have equal human rights – even if you are not an Australian citizen. You have a human right to live without violence and without fear.
Sometimes it is a female member of the family who is being abusive and violent. A person who commits domestic or family violence can go to jail, whether they are a man or a woman.
Here are some more examples of domestic and family violence:
Domestic and family violence includes verbal, psychological, emotional, financial, physical, sexual and religious. It also includes:
Read more examples about the different types of domestic and family violence.
You may also want to read about how to know you are experiencing domestic violence.
Children also have rights, even if they are not a citizen of Australia.
A child or young person who sees or hears their father, other male or other person in the family, be abusive and violent towards their mother or other family member is experiencing domestic and family violence. This is also a form of child abuse.
Hitting or hurting a child is also a form of abuse and is against the law in Australia.
Children and young people are protected by law and any abuse has to be reported to the Child Protection Helpline.
If you came to Australia on a temporary partner or spousal visa and were told that you will be forced to return to your home country if you leave your violent and abusive husband, fiancé or partner – this is not true.
If you are a victim of domestic and family violence, you do not have stay in your relationship or marriage. You can apply to stay in Australia on your own.
The Migration Act (1958) says that if the marriage or relationship breaks down because of domestic or family violence, then the victim (the person who is being abused) can apply for permanent residency in Australia.
Information and a factsheet about family violence and partner visas is available from the Australian Department of Social Services website.
Forced marriage and underage forced marriage is a crime and is against the law in Australia.
Forced marriage is when a person, or both people, marry when they don't want to. Underage forced marriage is when someone under the age of 18 is forced to marry. Under Australian law, children under 18 can't give their permission to marry.
Children aged 16 and 17 can only marry if they have the permission of the Court and their parents. No person under 16 can legally marry in Australia under any circumstance.
If you think a child is being forced to marry, get help. Call the Child Protection Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you or someone else is in danger right now, call the Police on 000
There is information about forced marriage and underage forced marriage in different languages such as Arabic, Urdu, Nepali, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Amharic, Dinka, Bengali and Somali. You can download them from the Forced marriage page.
The Australian Department of Home Affairs also has multilingual resources.
My Blue Sky, funded by the Australian government, is the first website on the prevention of forced marriage. It has helpful information, legal advice and referrals for girls aged 7-13, 14-18 and women. It has a free legal service and advice hotline.
1800 Respect is a national hotline for information and support for those experience sexual assault or family violence. You can call at any time. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are a victim of domestic and family violence, there are services, support and protection available for you.
If you are worried that you will be forced to return to your home country or you need to talk to someone about your rights in Australia, you can talk to a trained counsellor on the NSW Domestic Violence Line. It is a free service and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For advice and help with immigration law where there is domestic and family violence, you can contact the following services:
Provides free immigration advice and representation to refugees and financially disadvantaged immigrants in New South Wales. You can make an appointment to talk to someone about legal advice.
The Immigrant Women’s Health Service provides help to immigrant and refugee women. They run workshops, support groups and a free Women’s Health Clinic.
Provides domestic violence support, advocacy, information, referral and research body representing the ideas and issues of immigrant and refugee women in NSW. It is a community-based organisation managed by women from different culture and language backgrounds.
Provides family support, including support for multicultural families. Interrelate has 10 major regional locations across NSW and 26 outreach locations in the broader community. For more information on a specific region visit the website or call.
16 May 2023
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.