​Domestic violence is behaviour by a person towards another person in a relevant relationship that is

  • physically or sexually abusive
  • emotionally or psychologically abusive
  • economically abusive
  • threatening
  • coercive
  • in any way controls or dominates the second person and causes that person to fear for their safety or wellbeing or that of someone else

In domestic violence incidents in Queensland, the legal term used for the person affected by domestic and family violence, (the victim, survivor or complainant) is the ‘aggrieved’.

The person who uses domestic violence, (the perpetrator, offender, abuser) is referred to as the ‘respondent’.

Throughout this website the terms ‘aggrieved’ and ‘respondent’ will be used.

In order for an incident to come under the provisions of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act, 2012​ (DFVPA 2012), amended 30 May 2017, a relevant relationship must exist between the aggrieved and the respondent.

However, if a person is experiencing violence and they are not in one of the following relationships there may still be action they can take under other legislation.

The following table explains the relationships which constitute a relevant relationship under the DFVPA 2012: 


Intimate personal relationship

(Section 14)

(a) Spousal relationship

Exists between spouses, includes couples who are married, former spouses, de facto, a parent or former parent of a child


(b) Engagement relationship

Exists between two persons if the persons are or were engaged to be married

(c) Couple relationship

Exists between two persons if they have or had a relationship as a couple.  Consider:

  • degree of trust
  • level of dependence and commitment to each other
  • length of time of the relationship
  • frequency of contact
  • degree of intimacy.

Family  relationship (Section 19)


Exists between two persons if one of them is/was a relative of the other. A relative is someone who is ordinarily understood to be/have been connected by blood or marriage or is/was reasonable to regard as a relative.  Can be a former relative. 


Informal care relationship

(Section 20)


Exists between two persons if one of them is or was dependent on the other person (the carer) for help in an activity of daily living.  An informal care relationship does not exist:

  • between a child and a parent of a child
  • if the activity of daily living is/was under a commercial arrangement.