What is domestic and family violence?

Domestic and family violence is any type of abusive behaviour by a person towards another in an intimate or family relationship. It can be about intimidation to create fear and have power or control over someone else.

Identifying domestic and family violence
Domestic violence can happen to anyone. It is something that is hidden and hard to identify. However, domestic and family violence is cyclic meaning it is usually a pattern of behaviour, not an isolated event. It can be a criminal offense and most importantly, is never the fault of the person experiencing it. Simply ignoring it will not make it go away. Currently it is estimated that more than 1 in 3 women and their children will experience or witness domestic or family violence in their lifetime
Now is the time to seek help for yourself (I need help), your children (I am under 18), your family or someone you know (I want to help someone else).

Mulroney, 2003 Topic Paper: Australian Statistics on Domestic Violence, http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/Statistics_final.pdf

 

If my partner doesn’t hit me, is it still domestic violence?
Abusive behaviour is more than physical violence or verbal insults.

There are many things a person might do to try and intimidate and control another. Below are the most common:
Physical – Any time someone causes, or threatens physical pain or injury. This might also include breaking or smashing someone’s possessions, hurting or threatening pets, stopping someone getting sleep, food or medication, shoving, punching walls, standing over you, glaring, clenching fists or using their body in some way.

Social – Using threats, fear, and manipulation to isolate someone from friends, family or the wider community. For example, moving someone away from people they know or restricting someone’s use of transport, telephone and money so they must stay at home.

Spiritual and Cultural – Using the beliefs or culture of a community or religion to justify their power or control over a person or to gain reasons to inflict further violence or abuse. A partner might demand a woman be obedient or submissive or risk being disowned by their community or religion. Also, stopping them from being part of their spiritual community.

Verbal – What is said anytime, anywhere that makes someone feel humiliated, afraid, intimidated, or worthless. It can include communication over the internet or phone, or through a third party. Yelling, screaming, hissing, insults and put downs.

Financial – Restricting access to possessions and money. Stopping someone getting a job, buy basic things, or get a bank account, loan or access to a house.

Sexual – Anything sexual that is coercive or non-consensual. Including manipulating them into sending explicit photos or text messages.

Psychological – Manipulative behaviour aimed at making someone feel constantly unsure and unsafe about their reality and the world around them.

Emotional – Giving the cold shoulder, not speaking, sulking, constant put downs or emotional blackmail to make a person feel worthless and powerless in the relationship.violence

 

Are you a violent partner?
Have a look at the checklist below to see if your behavior constitutes as violent. If you use some of these behaviors only sometimes, it is still considered domestic violence. Anglicare and Uniting Communities have counseling support for men or you can access Men’s line for online counseling www.mensline.org.au.

Verbal and psychological violence

  • I forbid my partner from seeing certain people.
    YesNo
  • I order her around.
    YesNo
  • I pick on her for her weaknesses.
    YesNo
  • I don’t talk to her to get what I want.
    YesNo
  • I call her all kinds of names.
    YesNo
  • I always think that other people are responsible for my problems.
    YesNo
  • I accuse her of provoking me.
    YesNo
  • I try to get her to pity me, so she will excuse my abusive behavior.
    YesNo
  • I control everything at home.
    YesNo
  • I’m jealous and possessive of those I love.
    YesNo
  • I sometimes use the kids to threaten my partner.
    YesNo
  • I break things in front of her.
    YesNo
  • I pound on walls or furniture when she’s around.
    YesNo
  • I keep track of her comings and goings.
    YesNo
  • I often disparage her body and criticize her appearance.
    YesNo

Physical violence

  • I have pushed my partner.
    YesNo
  • I have pinned her against the wall.
    YesNo
  • I have thrown things at her.
    YesNo
  • I have forced her to stay home.
    YesNo
  • I have hit her.
    YesNo
  • I have grabbed her arms.
    YesNo
  • I have tried to choke her.
    YesNo
  • I have struck my child.
    YesNo

Sexual violence

  • I sometimes force my partner to have sex against her wishes.
    YesNo
  • I get back at my partner or harass her when she refuses to have sex.
    YesNo
  • I force her to watch pornographic movies even though I know she doesn’t like to.
    YesNo

Financial violence

  • I control all our spending.
    YesNo
  • I forbid my partner to buy certain things for herself.
    YesNo
  • I downplay her financial contribution to the household.
    YesNo

(Adapted from Centre Ex-Equo • Conception : Plügg Communication 2008 © Copyright http://www.exequo.ca/)