What is Domestic Violence?
"Family violence including what is usually referred to as domestic violence, encompasses actual or threatened violence or harassment between married, de facto and same-sex partners or those in other family relationships such as parents and children. It concerns those presently living in the same household, or who have lived together, or who at one one have had a relationship. Family violence also concerns children directly threatened or indirectly affected by violence in the home. While four out of five victims are reported to be female and perpetrators male, few women abused by their current and/or previous partner report the incident to the police."
"Under the Family Law Act (s 61DA(1) and (2), legislative provisions make an exception to the principle of equal parental responsibility where there is violence, or where child abuse has occurred."
Mediating with Families, Linda Fisher and Mieke Brandon (Second Edition) p. 353
See also Definition of Domestic Violence.
What is Mandatory Reporting?
"The legal requirement to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect is known as mandatory reporting. All jurisdictions possess mandatory reporting requirements of some description. However, the people mandated to report and the abuse types for which it is mandatory to report vary across Australian states and territories."
In NSW, a practitioner (including a counsellor and FDRP) involved in working with families has a duty to notify the authorities if they assess there to be "reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of significant harm; and those grounds arise during the course of or from the person's work."
Significant harm may fall in the following categories:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional / psychological abuse
- Exposure to family violence
Reference and more information: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
You may also wish to refer to Sections 23 and 27 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW)