Domestic and family violence
Domestic and family violence occurs when one partner uses abuse and violence to maintain control over or dominate their partner and family. It usually involves ongoing patterns of behaviour designed to control a partner through fear. It takes many forms including using physical, verbal, emotional and financial abuse, or threats or controlling behaviour.
Domestic and family violence doesn’t discriminate. It occurs amongst people of all ages, educational and sexual statuses and cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. It can occur within intimate relationships including same sex relationships, family relationships and informal care relationships. In Australia, one in four women have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner and one in four women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. Of those women who have experienced violence more than half had children in their care.
Domestic violence is not just physical
Domestic and family violence takes many forms:
- physical abuse includes pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, damaging property or threats to hurt you, your family, friends or pets
- sexual abuse is forcing or coercing you into any level of sexual conduct
- social abuse involves controlling where and when you go, not letting you see your friends or family and isolating you from people you care about
- financial abuse means preventing or limiting your access to your own or joint funds, forcing you to hand over your money or coercing you to sign legal documents
- emotional abuse is behaviour that makes you feel worthless including criticising your personality, looks or parenting skills
- verbal abuse includes yelling, shouting, name calling and swearing at you
- spiritual abuse involves both forcing you to attend religious activities or stopping you from participating in your religion
- stalking behaviours include constantly following or phoning you, cyberstalking or tracking you online, waiting for you outside your home or workplace
- technology abuse involves hacking into your personal email or social media, posting abusive statements or making threats online and posting images of you online without your consent.
It’s your right to feel safe
If you are experiencing domestic and family violence you are not alone.
- you are not to blame for your partner’s violence
- you have the right to be safe
- you have a right to a life free of violence
- children suffer deep emotional harm when domestic and family violence is part of their life
- children are very good at detecting tension and fear between the people important to them
- it is okay to ask for help.
Moving to safety
Leaving an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous time for you and your children. It is important to ensure you are prepared before leaving. We can help you develop a safety plan for leaving and provide referrals to legal and other support services.