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Domestic and family violence

Anyone can experience domestic and family violence. It happens across all communities, ages, cultures and sexes.

What is domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence occurs when there is an abuse of power in a relationship and/or after separation. This violence can take many forms and often, non-physical forms of abuse can be just as damaging as physical forms. 

If someone who has a close personal relationship with you makes you feel afraid, powerless or unsafe, or if you are afraid to disagree or negotiate for what you want, this may be a sign of abuse.

All individuals have the right to be free from violence. If you are experiencing abuse it is not your fault, it is the abuser who is responsible. Domestic and family violence is a crime.

Domestic and family violence can take many forms which include:

  • Physical – hitting, strangling, smashing things, denying medical support, hurting pets
  • Sexual – unwanted sex/sexual acts, sex on their conditions, denying choice in contraception
  • Emotional and psychological - put downs, blaming, threats of violence, self-harm or suicide, criticising appearance/body, spreading rumours
  • Financial - strict or unfair control of money
  • Verbal - name calling, yelling, public humiliation
  • Social - controlling where you go and who you see, controlling appearance
  • Stalking - following, making excessive phone calls, texts or emails
  • Spiritual or cultural - controlling practices or choices
  • Technology facilitated – tracking via mobile phone apps, monitoring spending through online bank accounts.

It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there is help out there. Below are some resources on how you, or someone you know, can get assistance and support through domestic and family violence. For more specific help, please see our tool kit below.

  • National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service: 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Mensline Australia - supports men and boys who are dealing with domestic and family violence and relationship difficulties. Phone: 1300 789 978. Online chat is also available: mensline.org.au
  • Men’s Referral Service – offers assistance, information and counselling to help men who use domestic and family violence. Phone: 1300 755 491.
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
  • Relationships Australia – information on relationship support services for individuals, families and communities. Phone: 1300 364 277
  • Each State or Territory has its own network of services that can help deal with domestic and family violence. Find a local service in your area at respect.gov.au/services/
  • For information about receiving a Centrelink crisis payment to help you with immediate financial concerns, contact Centrelink on 13 2850 or find information online
  • Some banks offer support for customers experiencing domestic and family violence. Call your bank to see how they can assist you.

 If you need immediate help call 000.

  

For Crisis Support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7) or via text (12pm-6am AEDT) on 0477 13 11 14

Deciding to leave a violent relationship is a difficult decision and requires careful planning and support. Everyone has the right to respectful, loving relationships and no one should live in fear.

  1. Talk to someone you trust - choosing to speak with someone about your experience is brave. Staying silent may put you and/or your children at risk of more harm. You may be surprised how relieved you feel once you have broken the silence.
  2. Find support – you do not have to go through this alone. Talk to a support services worker, with trusted family and friends, or connect with an organisation or support group of other victims/survivors of domestic and family violence. They can offer you help through shared experiences.
  3. Recognise your strengths - your skills and abilities have helped you protect yourself and/or your children every day. The way you have worked to keep yourself and/or your children from harm means that you are a capable person. You can draw on these strengths to create a more positive future.
  4. Make a safety plan - include emergency numbers, pack clothing/toiletries, important documents, medication etc in case you have to leave quickly.
  5. Contact the police - the police can be on standby if you decide to leave to ensure your safety or if you need to return to collect possessions later on.
  6. See a health professional - consider talking to a therapist about how the experience has affected you. Your GP can assist you to find an appropriate counsellor/psychologist.

 

If you need immediate help call 000

DV Alert Logo

DV-alert training

DV-alert is a nationally accredited free training program delivered by Lifeline aimed at srecognising the signs of domestic and family violence and knowing what to do next. There are programs for the general public and specialist programs for frontline workers. For more information go to the DV-alert website.

Cameron's Story

We too often see stories of the adults who are victims/survivors of domestic violence, but we rarely hear the voices of the children who are impacted.

Growing up, Cameron not only suffered the loneliness of trying to make sense of his parents’ violent relationship but also the after effects of a devious sexual abuse at the hands of a stranger. His story is one of survival, revived faith in humanity and a passion for music that has helped him find a new and hopeful future.