The information provided below is general information only. It does not replace advice and support from a domestic violence specialist.
What is Domestic and Family Violence
Domestic and Family violence or abuse is when one person behaves in a way that controls or dominates another person and causes fear for their safety and wellbeing.
Domestic and Family violence or abuse is usually a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour taking many forms. It happens in intimate, family or informal care relationships. Regardless of age, culture, sexuality or gender identity, you have the right to live without fear.
The Act states that the ‘Meaning of Domestic Violence’ is
What domestic violence means
Domestic violence means behaviour by a person towards another person with whom the first person is in a relevant relationship that-
a) Is physically or sexually abusive; or
b) Is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or is economically abusive; or
c) Is threatening; or
d) Is coercive; or
e) In any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes the second person to fear for the second person’s safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.
What domestic violence includes
Domestic violence includes the following behaviour-
a) Causing personal injury to a person or threatening to do so;
b) Coercing a person to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so;
c) Damaging a person’s property or threatening to do so;
d) Depriving a person of the person’s liberty or threatening to do so;
e) Threatening a person with the death or injury of the person, a child of the person, or someone else;
f) Threatening to commit suicide or self-harm so as to torment, intimidate or frighten the person to whom the behaviour is directed;
g) Causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, an animal, whether or not the animal belongs to the person to whom the behaviour is directed, so as to control, dominate or coerce the person;
h) Unauthorised surveillance of a person;
i) Unlawfully stalking a person.
Examples of domestic violence
Below are some more examples of abuse types recognised as domestic and family violence or abuse
- Physical abuse examples, such as hitting, slapping, punching, biting, kicking or pushing, strangulation, destroying belongings, punching walls as a show of strength and to cause fear;
- Verbal examples, such as insults, verbal threats of harm to yourself, to the children or pets, humiliation, constant criticism, insults;
- Psychological examples, constant criticism, threats to cause you fear, gaslighting
- Financial examples, controlling the finances, taking your money, making you take out loans in your name, forging your name;
- Coercive examples, a pattern of behaviours used to control their partner and create an uneven power dynamic
- Sexual examples, forcing you to have sex or take part in sexual acts that you do not want;
- Cultural examples, not letting you observe your dietary or dress customs, using racial slurs, threatening to ‘out’ someone as LGBQT, isolating you from others within your cultural;
- Religious examples, preventing you from practising your religion or attending religious prayer;
- Image examples, based abuse (IBA) happens when an intimate image or video is shared without the consent of the person pictured or the threat of an image/video being shared. https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/image-based-abuse
- Reproductive examples, taking away your right to choose; coercing you into pregnancy, sabotaging birth control or controlling the outcome of a pregnancy;
- Stalking examples, persistent phone calls, following you or staying outside your home or workplace;
- Withholding necessities of life such as food, money, medical care.
What is Coercive Control
Physical and sexual abuse may not begin until later into a relationship and for many women, this type of behaviour first appears during pregnancy. However, controlling and dominating behaviour may be present at the start of the relationship but can be construed as jealousy, and is often regarded as a compliment or a sign of strong love.
Not all domestic abuse is physical, and some types of abuse may be hard to recognise. Some people can live with this type of abuse for years and not realise that it is abusive. Coercive control refers to a pattern of behaviours used by an abuser to control their partner and create an uneven power dynamic. Some examples of coercive control behaviours are listed below.
Will cut you off or limit contact with family & friend. May not allow you to have a driver’s licence, or if you have one, will not let you use the car.
Your phone calls, text messages and social media activity. May force you to post things on your social media accounts. Track your location, with or without your knowledge.
Doesn’t like you going out without them. Accuses you of flirting or cheating. Prevents you from seeing friends. Accuses friends of being attracted to you.
Puts you down in front of other people. Puts your friends and family down.
Controls the finances, may not let you have a bank account. May force you to give them your money. Does not let you make any important decisions relating to finances. Forge documents in your name.
Must always be right & will force & convince you to acknowledge this.