Communities and Justice

What is domestic and family violence?

Domestic and family violence is when a partner, former partner or family member tries to scare, intimidate, hurt or control you. In Australia:

  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 men have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner (AIHW, 2019)
  • 1 woman is killed every 9 days and 1 man is killed every 29 days by a partner (AIHW, 2019)
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 20 men have experienced emotional abuse from a partner (AIHW, 2019)

There’s never an excuse for violence. Domestic and family violence:

  • Occurs in many forms of relationships. This includes between partners or ex partners who have been married or in de facto relationships, between children and parents, in same sex relationships, towards older people, and between people sharing a home.
  • Can happen regardless of culture, race, background, income level, age group, social status, abilities, sexual preference or religion.
  • Is not an ordinary relationship problem or anger management issue. The abusive person is responsible for their actions. Physical or sexual assaults are a crime whether they happen in your home or on the street.
  • Can make you feel uncomfortable, scared and unsafe. It can be subtle or blatant; this includes stalking and harassing and making threats, insults and put-downs.

Types of abuse

Domestic and family violence is not just physical. It can include:

  • calling you names or putting you down, and other types of verbal abuse
  • scaring you or telling you no one will believe you, or any other abuse that harms you emotionally
  • ignoring you or threatening to hurt themselves, and other types of psychological abuse that affects your mental health
  • not letting you access bank accounts, providing only a small ‘allowance’ or not letting you have a job, and other types of financial abuse or control
  • hitting, choking or shaking you, and other types of abuse that physically harms you
  • forcing you to have sex or perform sexual acts, or any other form of sexual abuse
  • following you, tracking you via GPS or calling you repeatedly, or other types of stalking or harassment
  • using religious beliefs to scare you, stopping you from practising your religion or forcing you to take part in religious practices, and other types of spiritual or religious abuse
  • forcing you to become pregnant, forcing you to have an abortion or throwing away your birth control, or any other type of reproductive abuse
  • taking, sharing or threatening to share an intimate photo of you without your consent, or committing any other type of image-based abuse as a way of controlling or degrading you
  • tracking your phone, reading your personal messages or pretending to be you online, or any other type of technological abuse

Warning signs

Look out for warning signs of abusive behaviour, including if a partner or family member:

  • tries to control you
  • pressures you to do things you don’t want to do
  • deliberately hurts you
  • acts extremely jealous
  • puts you down
  • threatens you
Last updated:

20 Sep 2022