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Family Violence Visa Lawyer

You do not have to remain in a violent or abusive relationship

Domestic and family violence is not acceptable in any circumstance. Please keep in mind that a partner (sponsor) who commits family violence cannot cancel their partner’s (applicant) visa and the Department will not cancel a temporary partner visa merely because of a relationship breakdown. If you are experiencing family violence, you are advised to seek professional assistance to explore the options available to you and if you are eligible for a partner visa. We understand that you may have been going through a difficult time as cases involving family violence are often complicated and emotional. Australian Migration Lawyers are able to help you to understand your rights and obligations, as well as provide advice in relation to visa pathways.

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The Australian Migration Lawyers difference

What is ‘family violence’ and what should you do?

Family violence is any conduct, whether aimed at you, your family, pets or property, that makes you fear for the safety and wellbeing of you or your family members. 

According to Regulation 1.21 of the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) and Section 4AB of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), examples of family violence includes, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal or emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse / control 
  • Physical abuse 
  • Sexual abuse 

If you are experiencing family violence and are unsure of your visa status, we encourage you to contact Australian Migration Lawyers.

Eligibility requirements for a Partner visa if you have experienced family violence

Under Australian’s migration laws, there are certain circumstances where you may be eligible for a Partner Visa if you have experienced family violence, and you are no longer in a relationship with your sponsor. 

The legislation specifies that the family violence occurred wholly or partly during your relationship and the sponsor is the perpetrator of that violence. ‘Perpetrator’ refers to the person who commits domestic and/or family violence.

Although your relationship has come to an end, you may be eligible for a permanent visa if you, have experienced family violence, and:

  • Have applied for or hold a Temporary Partner visa (subclass 820)
  • Have applied for or hold a Provisional Partner visa (subclass 309), and you were in Australia under COVID-19 visa concession
  • Hold a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300), providing that you have entered Australia and married your sponsor

You also need to meet health and character requirements.

Why should you continue pursuing your Partner visa?

In many cases, sponsors take advantage of the vulnerability of temporary visa holders. Victims can be reluctant to raise their voice as they are afraid of damaging their relationships and fear they will be subject to deportation or visa cancellation. Therefore, the main purpose of family violence provisions is to protect and support victims suffering from domestic and family violence by enabling them to still be eligible for a Partner visa even after a relationship has broken down due to family violence. 

If you meet the eligibility requirement to apply for a Partner visa notwithstanding the breakdown of your relationship due to family violence, you might be granted a permanent Partner visa which allows you to:

  • Live in Australia indefinitely
  • Access health care and support through Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) 
  • Work without restriction and have Australian minimum wage guarantee
  • Pay domestic student fees at Áutralian education providers 
  • Apply for Australian citizenship once you meet residence requirements
  • Sponsor family to come to Australia under relevant program

Document checklists

Our lawyers can guide you through the process to collect relevant information and evidence to support your proposal. We will provide a detailed checklist on key documentation required:  

  • Financial documents
  • Household arrangements documents 
  • Relationship documents
  • Judicial evidence (legal evidence from an Australian court)
  • Non-judicial evidence (e.g. from a medical practitioner, psychologist etc)

Steps to make a family violence claim

Australian Migration Lawyers can support you if you have suffered family violence and wish to make a claim. 

It will include:

  • Notifying the Department that your relationship has ended
  • Guiding and supporting you to gather the required documents 
  • Preparing submissions and supporting material to explain what has happened and your individual circumstances 
  • Responding to the Department’s request(s).

Australian Migration Lawyers can assist you at all stages of lodging a family violence claim and will keep your information safe and confidential.

Future visa pathways

The Department of Home Affairs may grant partner visa applicants temporary and/or permanent visas depending on their situation and associated evidence. There is no certainty that you can obtain permanent residency by pursuing your Partner visa notwithstanding your relationship breakdown due to family violence. 

If you are not eligible under the family violence provisions, Australian Migration Lawyers can also discuss and find other best visa options for you and your family.

Benefits of using Australian Migration Lawyers for Partner visa applications

The team at Australian Migration Lawyers have extensive experience in Australian migration law. We are proud to work with a range of clients with high levels of success across and we do not shy away from complex cases. At Australian Migration Lawyers, one of our key goals is to facilitate access to justice and we do this by representing individuals who entrust us with carriage of their migration affairs.

  • Our team is made up of qualified Australian lawyers who are capable of assisting your visa application, understanding your eligibility and advising on the best migration options and strategies available to you.
  • As lawyers, we strive to ensure that your application is compliant with all legislative requirements. 
  • We assist you with preparing your application all the way through to the grant of your visa, including working with you to action any additional requests from the Department of Home Affairs.

Application costs

Where possible, we work on a fixed-fee basis rather than billing hourly to provide our clients with certainty about the total costs associated with their application. We offer flexibility for our clients with instalment options available in some cases. 

Book a free consultation with one of our qualified lawyers to get a quote.

Visa application process

Applying for a visa to Australia can be complex. With help from an Australian Migration Lawyer, we can untangle this complexity, and help you apply for the right visa.

1. Consultation and engagement

2. Preparation and support

3. Submission and communication

4. Representation and success

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Processing times

There is no processing time information published by the Department for processing Partner visas where the applicant has reported family violence. However, once you notify the Department of the cessation of a relationship and lodge a family violence claim, the sponsorship application will be automatically removed from the system and your application will flag for priority processing.


Australian Migration Lawyers has a legal team of qualified and experienced lawyers practising in Australian migration law. 

As lawyers, we cannot guarantee a successful outcome as no such guarantee exists. The decision rests with the Department of Home Affairs. However, we understand the complex circumstances our clients face, and we will make sure you always get the support and advice you need.

We strive to make ourselves as accessible as possible to you:

  • Most initial consultations are free, recurring services will incur a fixed fee that we will discuss with you
  • You can have a consultation with us from anywhere in Australia via online platforms such as Zoom
  • We can assist you regardless of where you are in the Partner visa process

Meet your Australian Migration Lawyer

We’re a diverse team of professionals with decades of experience. We care about your situation and will make sure you always get the support and advice you need.

Australia-wide services

We offer professional migration advice and support, no matter where you are based. Those located in Australia have the choice of meeting with us at one of our offices or online, and for those offshore, we are available to you online.

Frequently asked questions

I am the victim of family violence, how can I seek help?

We understand that it must be a very tough time for you and/or your family members. However, you are not alone. If you have suffered from family violence, a number of national support lines are available to help you:

  • In an emergency or life threatening situation, please call the Police on 000
  • For financial assistance, please reach the Australian Red Cross.
  • For a free session with a family relationship counsellor, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732
  • If you need a free interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450

I have obtained a hospital report and a witness statement, would they be sufficient for a family violence claim?

Although you can provide non-judicial evidence such as a medical report from a medical practitioner or a witness statement, they have to satisfy the criteria prescribed by the legislation.If they do not, the Department will not accept your evidence. 

Please keep in mind that before assessing the family violence claim, the Department will assess your relationship prior to the first incident of family violence. Only if your relationship is found to be genuine and ongoing before the relationship ceased will you then be invited to provide evidence of family violence.

At Australian Migration Lawyers, we have a deep understanding about the legislative framework that operates in these circumstances and are able to make your application as comprehensive as possible.

If I can make a valid family violence claim and am granted a permanent visa, will my children get permanent residency as well?

Yes, your children will get permanent visas as well, providing that they are included as secondary applicants in your permanent partner visa application and they also meet the health requirements.

What if I cannot provide all requested documents?

The Department understands your difficulties in gathering evidence, so they may give more time for you to submit those documents. However, submitting requested documents is still mandatory.

How does the Department assess family violence claims?

With respect to relevant family violence claims, the Department will carry out two assessments concerning the veracity of whether you were in a genuine and ongoing relationship with your former sponsor before your relationship ceased and your family violence claims.

Demonstrating a genuine relationship and submitting a valid claim of domestic violence are not easy tasks, as it requires knowledge of migration law and legal procedures. If the Department is not satisfied you were in a genuine relationship before the incident, they will not assess your family violence claim. Australian Migration Lawyers have experience in this area of law, and have the capacity to provide you with clear, straightforward and compassionate advice to reduce the stress associated with this process. 

About the content author

Perry Q Wood
Perry Q Wood
Partner - Principal Migration Lawyer

Perry Q Wood is National President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law and one of Australia’s leading administrative and migration lawyers. To date, he has been involved in 1,000+ migration and refugee matters.

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