What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic and family violence is violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour within a relationship. The abuser can be a partner, carer or family member.

Abusive behaviour is not all physical. It is any behaviour method used to control, dominate, humiliate or scare the other person.

There are many forms of domestic and family abuse and not all types need to be experienced for the classification of domestic or family violence.

If reading this; this is your first step in getting help for yourself or someone you know… Take a big breath and just remember three things for today;

Step 1. Assess the Risk and keep safe:

(a) I am Safe today – Good job! its time to talk go to step 2
(b) I am NOT safe today – click here for crisis care services

Step 2. Phone a Friend – It’s time for Breaking the Silence !!

(a) I have someone I can ring and talk to ____________________
(b) I need a phone number

Step 3. make a plan for tomorrow – it just needs ONE thing on the To-Do list to start and make a difference

Types of abuse can include:

Verbal abuse

  • Continual humiliation and put downs, in private or in public
  • Attacks on intelligence, sexuality, body image and capacity as a parent and spouse
  • Name calling and bullying
  • Agressive outbursts

Psychological abuse

  • Destroying property
  • Abusing pets
  • Making threats
  • Playing mind games
  • Making the victim feel guilty without cause
  • Anything which causes fear, including using facial expressions, actions, gestures, displaying weapons

Emotional abuse

  • Putting the victim down and blaming them for all problems
  • Undermining self-esteem and self-worth
  • Sporadic sulking
  • Withdrawing all interest and engagement (silent treatment)
  • Emotional blackmail and suicidal threats
  • Name calling
  • Humiliation

Social abuse

  • Isolation from family and friends such as ongoing rudeness to family and friends to alienate them, or limiting contact with family and friends
  • Instigating and controlling the move to a location where the victim has no established social circle or work opportunities
  • Restricting use of the car or telephone
  • Forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people
  • Using jealousy to justify actions

Economic abuse

  • Controlling access to bank accounts
  • Giving a small ‘allowance’ or taking the victim’s earnings
  • Preventing the victim from having a job
  • Forcing victims to sign documents or make false declarations and/or statements
  • Controlling the all income including pensions
  • Forcing the victim to ask for money

Physical abuse

  • Direct assault on the body (punching, biting etc)
  • Use of weapons
  • Hurting children or pets
  • Locking the victim in or out of the house or rooms
  • Withholding medication, food or medical care
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Restraining the victim physically or with ropes/chains

Sexual abuse

  • Any form of pressured/unwanted sex or sexual degradation
  • Assaulting genitals
  • Forced sex without protection
  • Making the victim perform sexual acts unwillingly (including taking or distributing explicit photos without their consent)
  • Criticising or using sexually degrading insults.

Harassment and stalking

  • Following and watching
  • Telephone and online/social media harassment
  • Tracking with Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Forcing themselves into the victim’s home without permission.

*Please note these types of domestic and family violence are guides.

Are You or Someone You Know in Crisis?

If you, or someone you know are experiencing any of these forms of abuse, please seek help now.