“There is never an excuse for sexual assault, domestic or family violence.”
Did you know that…
- in Australia, 1 in 5 adult women have experienced abuse in an intimate relationship?
- domestic and family violence affects men, women AND children?
- 1 in 4 children witness domestic violence?
Domestic and family violence affects people from all cultures, ages, genders, religions and sexual orientations. It is a pattern of behaviour in which a family member (partner, parent, child) tries to seek power or control over the other. If you identify with a culturally and linguistically diverse background, you too can access the same support services.
Support is available for everyone.
What is domestic/family violence?
Domestic/family violence is not just physical abuse. It includes:
- physical violence
- sexual assault
- verbal abuse (insults, degrading language)
- emotional abuse (threatening the victim/children/pets, intimidation, controlling behavior such as physical and Internet stalking, monitoring victim’s movements)
- psychological abuse (blaming the person being abused for the behaviour, denying that the abusive behaviour occurred, etc)
- financial abuse (preventing victim from working or accessing money)
- social abuse (isolating the victim from family and friends)
- spiritual abuse (making fun of or preventing the victim from practising spiritual/religious beliefs)
Domestic and family violence are crimes under Australian law.
I am experiencing domestic violence. Are my children are safe?
No. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are also being psychologically abused. Some of the effects of domestic violence on children include – bed wetting, nightmares, asthma, headaches, eating difficulties, bullying, speech problems, depression and so on. Some are involved in physical abuse and are injured or murdered.
I’m a victim of domestic violence and my GP diagnosed me with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Where can I get support?
PTSD is a kind of anxiety disorder which stems from a traumatic or emotionally painful past experience, such as domestic violence. It can lead to:
- Strong depression, anxiety or guilt
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Difficulties sleeping
- Memory problems
- Lack of interest in things that you usually enjoy
- Mood swings
It is best to follow your GP’s recommendations in treating PTSD. Otherwise, please refer to the Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service (STTARS) or the Migrant Health Service on the support services page.
If I am a child/teenager and leave home because of domestic violence, what help is available?
Contact Kids Helpline. They will provide you with a counsellor to discuss your situation and may provide a referral to safe accommodation to children and teenagers at risk of homelessness.
Check the support services page for more information.
I have left my home. How can I get my possessions out of my house if I am scared?
Contact the police and tell them your situation while at a safe place. The police can escort you safely to your home to pick up your possessions. Call 131 444 .
I know someone (neighbour, friend, family member) who is experiencing domestic violence. I want to help them but I am too scared to do anything about it. What can I do?
What should I look out for?
People experiencing domestic or family violence may:
- suddenly or gradually stop going out for no obvious reason
- appear anxious, depressed or tired for no obvious reason
- act in a restless, self-critical or self-conscious way around their partner, or their partner displays rude or nasty behaviour to them
- have unusual injuries that make you suspicious
- keep justifying their movements or expenses.
- say that they are being followed, monitored, stalked or controlled
I have noticed these symptoms. Now…
What can I do to help?
- be emotionally supportive towards the victim
- listen but respect privacy and confidentiality
- respect the victim’s choices
- help list some options to get safe
- help in practical ways if safe to do so – with transport, appointments, child minding, or a place to escape to
- check the Support Services page for information about domestic/family violence services and offer to help with making an appointment
- contact police (if safe to do so)
What should I say?
It is difficult to talk about domestic/family violence, but family members or friends can ask direct questions in a gentle way, such as:
- Is everything okay with you?
- You seemed tired/stressed/anxious lately. Are you okay?
- Your partner seemed to be agitated with you. Is everything okay?
It is important to give your friend or loved one opportunities to speak in private, but don’t pressure or confront them. If you pressure the victim, they may feel even more isolated and unsupported.
I’m from a CALD background with specific cultural and religious beliefs. Are there any support services available from that specific community?
There are some support services available for specific cultural/religious groups. Please check the Multicultural SA website for more information.
How can communities and individuals help reduce domestic violence?
Not only individuals, but also families, neighbours, community groups, schools, health organisations, businesses and governments all share a responsibility to protect women and children, the most vulnerable victims, from domestic violence. Men have an important role in setting a standard of respectful behaviour, particularly within family relationships, and challenging gender-based discrimination and stereotyping. Men can be role models in their communities by discouraging controlling, macho, aggressive or violent behaviour. Community groups can help reduce domestic violence by encouraging school-based programs aimed at early prevention and by promoting fair workplace practices. Communities also have a significant role in building stronger social networks in their neighbourhoods and schools. Businesses can encourage gender equality by promoting women in leadership positions, improving women’s economic participation and independence, and implementing policies that support women experiencing or escaping from domestic violence.