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What is Domestic and Family Violence

Domestic and family violence happens when one person in a relationship uses violence or abuse to control the other person.

Domestic Violence takes many forms

Domestic and family violence is a pattern of behaviours that aim to control or hurt another person.

The person committing the violence may be targeting a family member, someone they are or have been in a relationship with, or someone they live with.

Abusive behaviours can include physical, psychological or emotional harm, sexual assault or limiting the social, spiritual or financial freedom of another person.

Domestic and family violence can take many forms, including:

  • assault or indecent assault
  • threats to you, your family or children
  • stalking
  • insulting or degrading comments
  • forcing you to take part in sexual acts that hurt you, make you feel bad or you don’t want to do
  • harassment, including phone calls, text messages and online
  • driving dangerously or damaging property to scare or injure you
  • using coercive or controlling behaviours
  • cruelty to pets
  • breaching an apprehended domestic violence order.

Domestic violence is never acceptable

In situations of domestic violence, the victim can feel or be told that they are to blame or that they have brought it upon themselves. The victim is never to blame.

Actions need to be taken to prevent further harm

Family or domestic violence can happen once, or a few times over a longer period or it can increase gradually over time. It is most often a pattern of behaviour where someone exerts control over their partner, family or another significant person in their life on repeated occasions. It can take place more often when the person committing the violence, the perpetrator, is stressed, intoxicated or drug affected.

Perpetrators (offenders) will often take steps to limit the victim’s access to friends and social support to increase their control. Many people put up with violence hoping things will improve. Often people are afraid of ending the relationship, and worry about the potential risks to family members or pets if they try to escape or stop the violence.

Effects on Children

The effects of violence may be experienced by all members of a family or household. Children are particularly at risk of psychological harm and can experience the same sense of powerlessness, despair and emotional distress as the person who is the target of the violence. There is strong evidence that children are affected by domestic violence even if they never see physical abuse taking place.