Domestic and family violence includes all forms of violence between intimate partners and violence between members of a family, household or community. Intimate partners includes people who are married, in de facto relationships, boyfriends, girlfriends, gay or straight.
This violence may involve physical abuse, sexual assault, threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, social isolation, property damage, financial deprivation and spiritual abuse. It also includes child abuse and neglect.
The Domestic and Family Violence Amendment Bill was passed by the Northern Territory Parliament in February 2009 and commenced on 12 March 2009. This amendment means that adults are required by law to report domestic and family violence to the Police if they think someone has, or is likely to, suffer serious physical harm from family violence.
Serious physical harm means a person is being hurt in a way that puts their life in danger or could leave them with serious injuries or damage that lasts for a long time.
If you are making a report, you need to hold a ‘reasonable belief’ that this kind of harm is happening, has happened or is likely to happen. Police will make a decision about how they respond based on the information that you provide.
If the Police have sufficient evidence of a person not reporting family violence, they may charge them under the mandatory reporting provisions and a penalty can be imposed.
The legislation is not gender specific about who is the victim or the offender and does not discriminate between men and women. If serious physical harm has happened or is about to, and a domestic relationship exists between the parties, you must call the Police.
Yes, you are mandated to report each incident to the Police if it fits within the definition of ‘serious physical harm’.