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Facts about: Domestic and family violence

This fact sheet has information about what domestic and family violence is, types of domestic and family violence, mandatory reporting, and help available for victims in the Northern Territory. You can download a copy of the fact sheet here (.pdf 259kb)

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is where one person in a domestic relationship does things to hurt or control the other person in the relationship. Domestic violence can happen between:

  • husband and wife
  • people who currently or previously live in the same place
  • partners and ex-partners
  • relatives
  • people who are dating or have dated in the past.

Types of domestic violence

Domestic violence can include:

  • hurting or threatening to hurt someone
  • calling someone bad names
  • controlling their money
  • stopping the person seeing their friends or going to work
  • calling or texting a person after they have asked you to stop
  • following or watching someone to make them feel scared
  • humbugging someone
  • jealousing someone
  • damaging property, including pets.

If you are in danger

In any emergency, call the police as soon as possible on 000. The police should help to protect people and keep them safe.

People affected by domestic violence can also contact police for help on 131 444.

Mandatory reporting

Northern Territory mandatory reporting laws say that everyone is responsible for reporting domestic and family violence to the police. This includes:

  • if someone is seriously hurt
  • if someone is in danger of being hurt.

Report violence or danger as soon as possible and when it is safe for you and the survivors of violence.

You can report domestic violence by contacting police on 131 444.

Domestic violence orders

Domestic violence orders (DVOs) can be made by the police or the court to protect people experiencing domestic and family violence. These orders make rules to prevent further violence by stopping the person doing certain things.

There are many different types of rules that can be in a DVO. For example:

  •  no contact between the people
  • making someone move out of a house
  • stopping someone damaging property
  • not exposing children to domestic violence.

When police make a DVO, you should get legal advice as soon as possible, before court. The court will try to make sure the right type of DVO is in place.

Criminal consequences

There can be criminal consequences for domestic violence:

  • To punish people who commit some types of domestic violence, like physical violence.
  • For breaking a DVO. If someone is guilty of breaking a DVO twice and harming the other person, there is a mandatory sentence of a minimum of 7 days.

Legal advice and support services

Darwin and Top End

Domestic Violence Legal Service
08 8999 7977

NT Legal Aid Commission
1800 019 343

Top End Women’s Legal Service
08 8982 3000

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
Darwin 1800 898 251
Katherine 1800 897 728

North Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Service
Darwin 08 8923 8200
Katherine 08 8972 3200

Katherine Women’s Legal Service
08 8972 1712

Barkly and Central Australia

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
1800 636 079

Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Service
Alice Springs 1800 088 884
Tennant Creek 1800 068 830

Central Australian Women’s Legal Service
1800 684 055


Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission
Call the Legal Aid Helpline 1800 019 343 (free call)

People who speak other languages can access the Legal Aid Helpline by calling the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 and asking for the interpreter to connect them to the Legal Aid Helpline.

The information in this fact sheet is current as at April 2018. This content is provided as an information source only and is not legal advice. It is correct at the time of publication, but laws change. If you have a legal problem you should seek advice from a lawyer.

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