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What is domestic or family violence?

Domestic and family violence includes all forms of violence between intimate partners and violence between members of a family, extended family or household.

Intimate partners include people who are married, in de facto relationships, current or ex boyfriends and or girlfriends, ex-partners, gay or straight.

This violence does not have to be physical. Domestic violence can take many other different forms:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Threats
  • Emotional abuse
  • Intimidation
  • Stalking
  • Sexual assault
  • Social abuse and isolation
  • Cultural deprivation
  • Financial abuse
  • Cyber abuse
  • Religious or spiritual abuse

Domestic violence relationships can involve one or more of these forms of violence and in any combination.

Domestic violence usually describes not only one incident, but a pattern of abusive behaviour, used by one person in the relationship to dominate or control the other person. This abusive behaviour often gets worse over time.

Although it is easy to see the effects of physical violence, this does not mean it is the most harmful form of domestic violence. Many women report that emotional abuse can be much more damaging and have long-lasting impacts on their health and wellbeing.

Examples of domestic violence include:

  • Controlling who you can and can’t see
  • Controlling your finances by holding your key card or monitoring your bank statements
  • Threatening to hurt themselves if you don’t do what they want
  • Damaging your property by smashing your phone or car
  • Stalking or following you
  • Making you do sexual things you don’t want to
  • Intimidating you and making you feel small and humiliated

Domestic violence is never the fault of the victim or survivor.