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The toxic legacy of domestic abuse and what to do about your visa application

Australian society does not tolerate domestic violence under any circumstances, and the New South Wales Government has announced that it will introduce tougher laws to support this objective.

Domestic violence is often incorrectly regarded as a “private matter” which “belongs behind closed doors”.

Quite often, the real emotional capital which is invested in a domestic violence matter can become lost in the world of crime statistics. From the populist perspective of the media, a person who is punched by a stranger whilst walking home can be treated as more newsworthy than a person who is punched by their spouse or partner within the confines of their own home. And unfortunately, reports often spiral into a “he-said, she-said” scenario with uninformed bystanders asking, “Why didn’t they just leave?” However, violence is still violence no matter where or how it occurs.

Domestic violence is not a simple or a trivial matter.

The decision to leave an abusive relationship is complicated to begin with, and there are many reasons why domestic altercations are often not reported, such as the fear of court proceedings, the emotional ramifications for children, and so on.

Unfortunately, many migrants also believe that they cannot leave their spouse or partner when their immigration status in Australia appears to be dependent on that relationship.

Do not risk your safety or wellbeing. You have options.

Firstly, your spouse or partner does not have the authority to cancel your visa. You can make the courageous decision to leave an abusive relationship with that in mind.

Secondly, there are family violence provisions within immigration legislation which allow for a visa application to proceed in certain circumstances despite a relationship breakdown.

A person who is on a Temporary Partner Visa may still be eligible for grant of a Permanent Partner Visa where domestic violence occurred during the relationship and the relationship has since ceased. Similar provisions apply to Prospective Marriage Visa holders who have married their sponsor, domestic violence has since occurred and the relationship has ceased.

For a summary of the family violence provisions in English and in other languages, please visit this link.

If your relationship has ceased, then you will need to inform the Department of Home Affairs (Department) regarding the change in your circumstances. You will then be afforded the opportunity to provide evidence to the Department that domestic violence has occurred, and thereby access the protection of the family violence provisions.

The types of evidence required to demonstrate that domestic violence has occurred, whether physical, psychological or financial, include certain court injunctions or orders against the perpetrating sponsor, or evidence that they have been convicted of an act of violence against you or your dependents. The types of evidence you can provide also include statutory declarations, and medical or psychological reports. Some other requirements also apply, and it is strongly recommended that you seek professional assistance if you are in such a situation.

The most important thing to do is to protect your safety.

In Australia, domestic violence is not accepted. It is against the law, and a person who commits such crimes can go to jail whether they are a man or a woman.

Everyone has the right to live free from violence, so please reach out if you need help.

IF YOU ARE IN DANGER, PLEASE CALL THE POLICE ON 000.

FOR FREE, CONFIDENTIAL ADVICE AND SUPPORT, CALL 1800 RESPECT
ON 1800 737 732.

IF YOU NEED A FREE INTERPRETER, CALL 131 450.

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."