About domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour. It is the use of violence and abuse by one person to gain and maintain power over another person with whom they are in a close personal or family relationship.

Domestic and family violence:

  • Occurs in many forms of relationships. This includes between partners or ex partners who have been married or in de facto relationships, between children and parents, in same sex relationships, towards older people, and between people sharing a home
  • Can happen regardless of culture, race, background, income level, age group, social status, abilities, sexual preference or religion
  • Is not an ordinary relationship problem or anger management issue. The abusive person is responsible for their actions. Physical or sexual assaults are a crime whether they happen in your home or on the street
  • Can make you feel uncomfortable, scared and unsafe. It can be subtle or blatant.

Domestic and family violence can include the following sorts of behaviour:

Psychological or emotional abuse: For example, attempts to make you feel worthless or afraid, using intimidation threats to hurt you, your children or your pets, or threats of suicide.

Physical abuse: This is the use of violence to hurt, control or intimidate you. This may include hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, strangling or using weapons.

Sexual abuse: This is the use of sex as a way to control, hurt and intimidate you. This may include sexual assault, forcing you to view pornography, or participate in other unwanted sexual acts.

Financial abuse: This includes restricting access to money, threatening to withdraw financial support or making you responsible for debts that are not your own. This can affect your ability to care for your family or leave an abusive relationship.

Social control: This includes isolating you from your family, friends and the community by restricting access to family or cultural events and activities like religious meetings or education.

Stalking: This is when a person follows or watches you, or visits places where they know you will be, to try and monitor your whereabouts and intimidate you.

Intimidation: This is abusive behaviour to make you fearful. It can be obvious or subtle. It includes threatening statements, looks or gestures, or other behaviour that makes you feel afraid.

Harassment: This is repeated and unwanted contact by the abusive person. It can include contact made directly, by phone, email or on social networking websites, or through another person.