Sexual, domestic and family violence and the law in your state

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Sexual, domestic and family violence and the law in your state

  • In Australia, legislation regarding sexual assault, domestic and family violence is state and territory based;
  • Select a state or territory from the drop-down list to explore relevant legislation related to sexual assault;
  • If you need help finding legal advice, speak to our counsellors.

If you have specific legal questions, we would encourage you to obtain independent legal advice.

Our counsellors can provide you with the details of an appropriate legal service to speak to.

What about sexual harassment?

In Australia, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment is unlawful, but not criminal and is covered under anti-discrimination laws both at a federal and state and territory level.

For further information on sexual harassment and the relevant legislation, we encourage you to contact the Australian Human Rights Commission on 1300 656 419 through their National Information Service or visit their website for more information about dealing with sexual harassment:

Australian Human Rights Commission - sex discrimination

What about family law?

In Australia, legislation regarding family law (law that deals with the family, such as divorce and child custody) is federal. This means that family law matters including parenting arrangements, property settlement and divorce applications are dealt with under the same legislation in every state and territory, except in Western Australia where they have their own family law legislation.

Family Law Act 1975 (Federal legislation)

  • See Part VII – Children which refers to parenting arrangements.

Family Court Act 1997 (WA)

  • See Part 5 – 'children', which refers to parenting arrangements.

The law in your state or territory


Australian Capital Territory

Crimes Act 1900 (ACT)

  • See Part 3: refers to sexual offences in the ACT.

Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT)

  • See Part 3 refers to Family Violence Orders in the ACT.

For further information on domestic and family violence in ACT, see:

New South Wales

Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)

  • Divisions 10, 10A and, 10B is the law in relation to sexual offences in NSW.

Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW)

  • See Part 3 - domestic violence and other offences and Part 4 - Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders.

For further information on domestic and family violence and Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders in NSW, see:

Northern Territory

Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT)

  • See Part V: Acts injurious to the public in general, Subdivision 2 (section 126 – 134) under Division 2 Offences against morality, and Division 5 Assaults (section 192 – 192B).

Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007 (NT)

  • See Chapter 2 Domestic Violence Orders.

For further information on Domestic Violence Orders in the Northern Territory, see:

South Australia

Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA)

  • See Division 11 regarding rape and other sexual offences.

Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 (SA)

  • See Part 3 – Intervention and associated orders.

For further information on domestic violence in South Australia, see:

South Australia Police – Domestic Violence

Tasmania

Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas)

  • See section 185 in relation to rape in Tasmania.

Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas)

  • See Part 3 – Police family violence orders and Part 4 – Family violence orders.

For further information on family violence in Tasmania, see:

Tasmania Police – family violence

Victoria

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

  • See Sections 38 – 52 in relation to sexual offences in Victoria.

Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)

  • See Part 4 – Family Violence Intervention Orders.

For further information on family violence in Victoria, see:

Victoria Police – family violence

Western Australia

Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA)

  • See Chapter XXXI – sexual offences

Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA)

  • See Part 1B – Family Violence Restraining Order.

For further information on family violence in Western Australia, see:

Western Australia Police Force – family violence

If you need help finding legal advice, speak to our counsellors:

Get in touch:

NSW Rape Crisis
Available 24/7.
Sexual Assault Counselling Australia
For those affected by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Available 24/7.
Online counselling
Online counselling is also available 24/7.