What is Domestic Violence?
There are many types of domestic and family violence. It is violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour by a partner, carer or family member to control, dominate or cause fear. It doesn’t have to be physical abuse. It can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or other types of abuse.
It can affect anyone in the community, regardless of gender, sexual identity, race, age, culture, ethnicity, religion, disability, economic status or location.
If you’re a victim of domestic and family violence, there is help available.
Signs of Abuse
It is not always easy to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or is in an abusive relationship. Violence and abuse are experienced in many different ways. Violence and abuse can include emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse. Read more about the different types of abuse.
Cycle of Violence
This chart shows the main tactics and behaviours which abusing partners use to establish and maintain power and control in relationships. Violence is a choice. It is used to gain power and control over another person. Physical abuse is only one part of a system of abusive behaviours.
The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the ‘making-up’ and ‘calm’ stages disappear as the violence becomes more entrenched.
However, it is acknowledged that it is not the same for everyone and some people may experience only some stages of the cycle or not relate to it at all.
Signs of Domestic Violence
- unfairly and regularly accuses her of flirting or being unfaithful
- controls how she spends money
- decides what she wears or eats
- humiliates her in front of other people
- monitors what she is doing, including reading her emails and text messages
- discourages or prevents her from seeing friends and family
- threatens to hurt her, the children or pets
- physically assaults her (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing)
- yells at her
- threatens to use a weapon against her
- decides what she uses for birth control
- forces her to have an abortion or to continue a pregnancy
- constantly compares her with other people
- constantly criticises her intelligence, mental health and appearance
- prevents her from practicing her religion.
How to Support Someone
Here are some ways you can support someone you know who has told you they are experiencing or have experienced violence:
- believe the person
- make sure they understand it is not their fault
- listen without judging
- be supportive, encouraging, open and honest
- ask if they need help from a support service and discuss their options
- help them get advice and support by calling 1800RESPECT or visiting their website
- offer to go with the person if they meet with a support service
- keep in touch with the person to see how they are going.
Note that you may be required by law to report disclosures of violence when children are involved. Check with your state/territory police for more information on your obligations.