Family Violence Whilst on a Visa: What Are Your Options?


Are you currently experiencing family violence and are you worried about how this will affect your visa?

Under the Migrations Regulations 1994 (Cth), the Australian Government introduced family violence provisions to ensure vulnerable people are not forced to remain in abusive relationships to achieve a visa outcome.

Often the family violence exception is invoked in partner visa cases. The exception provides a permanent residency grant to victims of family violence, despite the breakdown of the relationship on which the visa status depends.

What Is Family Violence?


Family violence is conduct, whether actual or threatened, that causes the alleged victim to reasonably fear for, or to be reasonably apprehensive about, their safety.

Such conduct can include conduct against the victim, a member of the family unit, or their property.

For example:

  • Physical abuse or harm;
  • Psychological and emotional abuse, such as undermining their self-worth, intimidation, or threatening;
  • Forced sexual relations;
  • Undermining their sexuality, such as making accusations of infidelity or withholding sex;
  • Destroying personal property;
  • Forced isolation from family and friends;
  • Economic abuse, such as making them financially dependent (total control of finances), withholding resources like food and clothes, or preventing them from working;
  • Spiritual abuse, such as preventing them from practising their religious beliefs, using religious beliefs to manipulate, or ridiculing their religious beliefs; and
  • Possessiveness and coercive control.


What Should You Do if You Experience Family Violence?


Before leaving the relationship, ensure that you obtain the necessary evidence required by the Department of Home Affairs (Department). We recommend that you:

  • Confide with your general practitioner, showing them any physical injuries such as bruises or abrasions, and request treatment or a referral to a psychologist if your mental health has been impacted.
  • Reach out to a family/domestic violence crisis centre in your local area. Make a claim of family violence and provide details of the abuse you have experienced.
  • Attend counselling with a social worker or psychologist (if possible).
  • Contact the police if you or a member of your family unit is in immediate danger or if you have grave fears for your life. To make a family violence claim, you must provide details of the family violence incidents to the police and you must also identify the alleged perpetrator.


What Evidence Is Required?


To succeed with an application for permanent residency in circumstances of family violence, the Department requires two types of evidence: judicially determined evidence OR non-judicially determined evidence.

Judicially determined evidence is evidence from a court such as an injunction under the Family Law Act 1975 against your partner, a court order against your partner, or evidence that a court has convicted your partner of assault against you or a member of the family unit.

Non-judicially determined evidence involves evidence from a competent person, such as a medical practitioner, psychologist, registered nurse, a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers, a family consultant under the Family Law Act 1975, or a manager of a women’s refuge, crisis or counselling service.

Other evidence that can be included to support an application for invoking the family violence exception includes:

  • Photographs of the violence;
  • Statutory declarations from friends or family members witnessing the violence;
  • A personal journal recording the violence; and
  • Text messages between the victim and the alleged perpetrator.

This is a sensitive subject for many and one which may have perceived cultural implications on the individual(s) subjected to the family violence.

It is critical that you seek assistance – particularly when applying for a permanent partner visa under the family violence provisions stipulated by the Department as the Department has become more stringent with the submitted evidence.

We recommend obtaining sufficient judicial or non-judicial evidence before submitting your visa application to avoid receiving a Request for Further Information from the Department.




Bambrick Legal has recently acted for a client who had experienced family violence by her sponsoring de facto partner.

Throughout her relationship, she experienced physical, emotional and psychological violence.

Our client held a Temporary Partner Visa (subclass 820) and was concerned her visa would be cancelled if she spoke out about the violence or if she left her partner before the permanent visa was granted.

Applications of this kind are emotionally challenging due to the circumstances and the evidence required.

We ensured that our client was treated with respect throughout the entire process and that her story was properly considered and presented with concise evidence.

The Department granted our client her Permanent Partner Visa (subclass 801).

She can now continue to remain in Australia and plan for her future in Australia.


Contact Us


For a professional consultation on your options regarding family violence while on a visa, contact Bambrick Legal today:

Please note: Our migration and citizenship consultations are provided on a fee basis.

Related Blog – Partner Visa Relationship Issues

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