Publish Date: May 15, 2013
Temporary spouse visa holders may be reluctant to report domestic violence, or “family violence” as it is referred to under Australia’s migration laws. They are scared that their spouse visa will be cancelled and they will be forced to return to their home country.
Few people are aware that special rules apply for people who can establish that they, or certain members of their family, have experienced family violence at the hands of their spouse. These rules enable victims of abuse to qualify for permanent residence even though their relationship with their spouse has broken down.
Family violence covers a range of behaviour that causes you to be apprehensive about your safety or the safety of certain members of your family. It is not limited to physical abuse, although in our experience it can be more difficult to prove family violence where the victim does not suffer physical abuse.
The rules do not just protect women; men can also rely on these rules in cases where they or certain members of their family have been the victims of abuse.
About eight years ago there was quite a bit of coverage in the press about how easy it was for people to exploit the previous family violence rules in circumstances where there was little evidence that abuse had occurred. When the Department of Immigration set up the current rules they were mindful of the need to stop this exploitation.
There is now a complex set of regulations that specify precisely what evidence you must provide in order to prove family violence. The Department of Immigration must refuse your application for permanent residence on the basis that you have been the victim of spousal abuse if you do not comply with these regulations.
We understand these rules and regularly assist people who have been the victims of family violence. We have established relationships with a panel of experts who are able to provide opinions about the likelihood that you or certain members of your family have been victims of abuse.
We can provide you with the advice and assistance you need to demonstrate that you are entitled to permanent residence. We also employ an accredited specialist in family law who can help you with any issues around custody and divorce. We are the only firm in Australia that can provide this level of expertise.
Please phone us on +61 2 8268 4000 for a consultation if you would like advice about the best way to bring your loved ones to Australia.