Domestic violence is an act of violence committed by a person against another person whom he or she has an intimate sexual relationship. The commission of this offense could either be through emotional, physical, sexual or psychological abuse. It has a severe and persistent effect on physical and mental health.
In one study, it was found out that the very central element of this crime is that of an ongoing pattern of behavior displayed by the perpetrator against another person for the purpose of inflicting fear or exercise power to control that person. Usually this is committed by male against his female partner. It happens also in a relationship between the same sexes.
Statistically, domestic violence incidents are usually unreported; hence it is impossible to measure the extent and gravity of the situation although it is commonly committed in Australia and has become widespread.
There are quite a number of risk factors associated to be the causes of domestic violence. Among these risk factors are drug use and alcohol use, financial stress and lack of social support which a study found to be strong correlates of domestic violence.
Alcohol use is the strongest risk factor causing domestic violence in indigenous communities in Australia. Although widespread in aboriginal communities, domestic violence usually remains unreported. This is because the certainty of being charged as discussed in the case of Swan, Wayne D.P.P  NSWDC 139, is the greatest deterrent to offending behavior including domestic violence.
For years, police authorities in Australia were being criticized for being slow and less attentive in responding to domestic violence cases. Recently however, they improved after they focused on factors such as use of a deadly weapon, the seriousness of the injuries sustained by the victim and most of all, the fact that an indictable offense was committed which influenced them in charging the perpetrator with the crime of domestic violence.
In Victoria, there is a statewide service for women who are victims of domestic violence from a partner or ex-partner. Isolating one from her or his family or friends constitute a crime of domestic violence. Harming the things the person loved or cared about also constitutes a crime of domestic violence. One is also committing the crime of domestic violence when she or he allows a child to witness, hear, see or be exposed to the effects of domestic violence. It involves overt or subtle exploitation or display of power over a period of time.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.