DVNSW’s Overarching Principles are:

The Association works from a feminist, social justice perspective as articulated in the DVNSW Primary Policy. Domestic and family violence must be understood in a framework that recognises women and children are the primary victims of domestic and family violence and that violence, discrimination and gender inequality impact upon a woman’s capacity to reach her full potential.

Domestic and family violence includes all types of violence and abuse. The Association and its members endorse the definition of domestic violence as defined in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022. Domestic and family violence may include any behaviour, in an intimate or family relationship, which is violent, threatening, coercive or controlling, causing a person to live in fear. It is usually manifested as part of a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour. Behaviours that may constitute domestic and family violence include, but are not limited to:

(i) physical violence including physical assault or abuse;

(ii) sexual assault and other sexually abusive or coercive behaviour;

(iii) emotional or psychological abuse including verbal abuse and threats of violence;

(iv) economic abuse;

(v) social isolation;

(vi) stalking;

(vii) kidnapping or deprivation of liberty;

(viii) damage to property irrespective of whether the victim owns the property;
and(ix) causing injury or death to an animal irrespective of whether the victim owns the animal.

Domestic and family violence may occur in all types of personal or family relationships or intimate partnerships. An intimate relationship refers to people who are (or have been) in an intimate partnership whether or not the relationship involves or has involved a sexual relationship, that is, married or engaged to be married, separated, divorced, de facto partners (whether of the same or different sex), couples promised to each other under cultural or religious tradition, or who are dating.

A family relationship has a broader definition and includes people who are related to one another through blood, marriage or de facto partnerships, adoption and fostering relationships, sibling and extended family relationships. It includes the full range of kinship ties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, extended family relationships, and constructs of family within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) communities. People living in the same house, people living in the same residential care facility and people reliant on care may also be considered to be in a domestic relationship if their relationship exhibits dynamics that may foster coercive and abusive behaviours.

Domestic and family violence is a breach of human rights. Domestic and family violence is a fundamental violation of human rights. It is a crime against the individual and impacts broadly on communities and the whole of society. It is not just an individual or private problem.

Domestic and family violence requires a comprehensive and integrated professional response. The Association is committed to collaborative service provision that places those affected by domestic and family violence at the centre of the response, prioritises their safety and enhances their ability to make informed decisions.

Access and equity. The Association recognises and values diversity and is committed to promoting access to and equity of services for all women. The Association also recognises that additional disadvantage and barriers are experienced by particular groups and that these communities are more vulnerable because they are less likely to seek help, identify family and domestic violence in their relationships, or may perceive that their needs might not be met by mainstream services or dealt with sensitively and in confidence.

Mutuality. The Association acknowledges that the relationship with its Members is founded on the principles of mutuality and reciprocity. The Association recognises that to be an effective peak body, processes must exist for Member input into the Association’s activities. The Association is committed to a two way process of communication and collaboration with its Members.