Abuse and domestic violence
Domestic and family violence in our community is unacceptable. Everyone has the right to be free from harm and to live without fear of abuse. All victims need compassionate and highly responsive support.
The Help is Here campaign provides information on support services available to anyone affected by abuse and domestic violence, to help them access the support they need, when they need it.
If it is an emergency, dial 000.
If you are self-isolating or required to isolate, but are in immediate danger, you can leave your house. Contact a domestic violence support service for advice about continuing to isolate in a safe place.
How we define domestic and family violence
We view violence towards partners – whether they live together or not – as domestic violence. When children or other family members are involved we refer to this as family violence.
If you have to change your behaviour out of fear for what your partner might do, you are experiencing domestic violence.
Violence can take many forms and isn’t always physical. This kind of violence is not about passion or loss of control. Its intent is to exert power. To control you. Are you being controlled, intimidated, coerced or humiliated in your closest relationship? Do you feel isolated and worn down? Are you constantly on edge, feeling like you have to tip toe around their moods? Do you worry that your partner’s behaviour is harming your children?
The different forms of domestic and family violence
- Physical abuse – pushing, hitting, spitting, pulling hair, throwing things, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons.
- Sexual abuse – forcing or pressuring you to have sex (rape), making you participate in unwanted sexual activity, being humiliated or coerced into sex, allowing others to have sex with you when it is not your choice, or making you watch pornography.
- Verbal abuse – not just shouting, but degrading them and using language that puts them down such as calling them ugly, fat or stupid or using other words that shame them.
- Emotional abuse/Coercive control – repeatedly making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone, undermining, playing mind games so they think they are imagining things.
- Social – It is violent to control who your partner sees, to limit their communication with family and friends, to force them to spend all their time with you, to follow them when they go out or go to work or use any form of surveillance including reading emails or checking phone messages.
- Financial abuse – taking money, controlling finances, not letting someone work in order to limit their freedom and activities.
- Digital/Online abuse – using technology to isolate, stalk, humiliate, spy on or control someone.
- Spiritual violence – restricting a spiritual practice, preventing attendance at a place of worship, or ridiculing religious beliefs. It can also take the form of using religion to perpetrate abuse.
- Cultural abuse – ‘Honour’-based violence and forced marriage, female circumcision and other forms of cultural abuse that hurt, degrade or remove freedom of choice.
Physical violence may not be the first sign of violence in a relationship but it is the easiest to recognise.
Any of these forms of controlling behaviour can be violent and can escalate to physical violence. Often men and women do not realise there is violence in their relationship until it becomes physical.
You may try to tell yourself it’s not that bad. But violence is never okay. You may tell yourself that it will change. Unfortunately, without treatment or intervention, domestic violence is very likely to get worse.
Nobody has the right to control, hurt, imprison, frighten or humiliate you.
Nobody has the right to threaten you or the people you love in order to control you.
Abuse it not caused by your behaviour. It is not your fault.
MensLine Australia Changing for Good program
Changing for Good is a program to help men stop using violence in their family and relationships.
We work with men to help them recognise their abusive behaviours and end their use of violence. By providing ongoing support, specialist counselling and resources, our goal is to help men make and sustain changes in violent or abusive behaviours as well as attitudes that support violent behaviours. By working with men to end their use of violence, we help to increase the safety of women and children who have or are experiencing domestic or family violence. To find out more about how to sign up, please visit the Changing for Good website.