Family violence definitions


Unborn children and children aged 0 to 14 years. Note that Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989 covers young people up to their eighteenth birthday.

Child abuse

The harming (whether physically, emotionally or sexually), ill treatment, abuse, neglect or serious deprivation of any child, or young person (Section 2(1) Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989).

Child emotional/psychological abuse

Any act or omission that results in impaired psychological, social, intellectual and/or emotional functioning and development of a child or young person.

Child protection

Activities carried out to ensure the safety of the child in cases where there is abuse or risk of abuse.

Child sexual abuse

Any act or acts that result in the sexual exploitation of a child or young person, whether consensual or not.

Family violence

Violence or abuse of any type, perpetrated by one family member against another family member, including child abuse, partner abuse and elder abuse.

Intimate partner violence (also called partner abuse)

Physical or sexual violence, psychological/emotional abuse, or threat of physical or sexual violence that occurs between intimate partners.


Any act or omission that results in impaired physical functioning, injury and/or development of a child or a young person, including physical and medical neglect, neglectful supervision, abandonment and refusal to assume parental responsibility.

Physical abuse

Acts of violence that may result in pain, injury, impairment or diseases, may include hitting, choking or in any way assaulting another person and also under/over medicating.

Physical abuse usually results in visible evidence of bruising, fractures, burns, lacerations, etc, though the difference between accidental injury and abuse can be slight and require expert investigation.

Child physical abuse is any act or acts that may result in inflicted injury to a child or young person.

Routine enquiry

Enquiry, either written or verbal, by health care providers to an individual about their personal history of partner abuse, child abuse or neglect. Routine questioning of all individuals, or specified categories of individuals about abuse.

Young person

14–18 years old.

(Family Violence Intervention Guideline: Child abuse and intimate partner violence 2016.)

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