Keeping Your Family Safe

Family violence may be the reason you and your spouse are going through a separation or divorce, or it may happen while you are splitting up or have left the relationship.

Leaving a violent relationship can be difficult, but there are ways for you to keep yourself and your children safe during separation or divorce.

The Family Law Act addresses family violence in the following ways:

  • Provides for a protection order to restrain a family member from contacting or communicating with another family member where there is a risk of family violence – breaches of protection orders are a Criminal Code offence
  • Defines family violence and makes it a consideration in the “best interests of the child” test used when making decisions about care of children
  • Requires people seeking guardianship of a child to provide the court with evidence of their ability to care for a child, including information about their criminal and child protection history, and
  • Requires family dispute resolution professionals, such as lawyers and mediators, to screen for violence to ensure the processes used to resolve your family’s separation issues are appropriate

Note: This section of the website is written for women – particularly women with children – who need protection from a male spouse.

But the information contained here also applies to:

  • People in same-sex relationships
  • Men who need protection from their female spouses