Communities and Justice

I'm the one hurting my partner

Do you hurt the people you care about?

  • Do you often yell at your partner, your children or other family members?
  • Do you find it hard to talk about or express your feelings and then end up exploding?
  • Have you slapped, pushed, kicked, choked or hit your partner or ex-partner?
  • Do you force or coerce your partner or ex-partner to have sex with you?
  • Do you constantly apologise for your behaviour?
  • Do you make all the decisions in your relationship?
  • Has your partner or ex-partner told you that you treat them badly?

A person always has a choice in how they behave in a relationship. A person who is abusive and uses violence in their relationship has made a choice to do so.

Domestic violence is not just physical

Physical and sexual violence aren't the only types of abuse. If you have:

  • tried to stop your partner contacting friends or family
  • called your partner constantly to find out where she is
  • controlled where your partner goes or who she sees
  • tried to stop your partner from working
  • insulted or criticised your partner
  • threatened to harm your partner, your children, your partner's children, your partner's family or friends
  • threatened or have harmed your partner's or the children's pets or destroy their possessions
  • threatened to take away your partner's children

then you are being psychologically and verbally abusive towards your partner or the children or both. There are also other types of abuse, including financial, emotional, spiritual, reproductive and image-based abused.

You have a choice

Each of us makes choices about how we act. Blaming your choice to use violence on 'you lost control', had too many drinks, or were stressed about work or money worries is a way of avoiding responsibility for the violence. Most people who are violent in their family relationships don't often act violent, abusive and controlling outside of the home.

You might even do or say things to avoid or reduce responsibility for your behaviour, such as:

  • "I wasn't being abusive"
  • "I only pushed them, I didn't hurt them"
  • "I was angry and lost control"
  • "If she stopped annoying me I wouldn't have had to do it"
  • "It's not my fault, I'm under a lot of stress right now"
  • "I was drunk and I didn't know what I was doing"
  • "She deserved it"

There is no excuse for using violence in your intimate or family relationships. No one deserves to be hurt or scared of you and what you might do. Not your partner, not the children, or anyone else in your family.

It takes strength and courage

If you're being abusive towards your partner, the hardest thing to do is admit is that your behaviour is wrong. Admitting responsibility for your abusive, controlling and violent behaviour takes strength and courage. It's a good first step to ending the abuse and violence.

Getting professional help to learn new ways of having a healthy relationship with your partner is the next step. Changing abusive behaviour will take time and will challenge the beliefs you held that justified your behaviour. You can't do this alone but with help, courage and determination, you can change and learn how to treat your partner with respect.

By learning to understand and be better aware of your emotions, you'll be able to recognise when you feel like you're losing control. And you'll be able to make a decision to respond in a more respectful way, without violence.

What you can do

Remember that using violence is always a choice. You are responsible for how you act and behave. Here are some of the ways you can change your behaviour starting now:

Stop using violence and abuse - You can STOP. THINK. TALK or JUST WALK AWAY before things get out of control. Remove yourself from the situation so you won't hurt someone or cause damage.

Make a commitment to change. Changing your behaviour will take time, effort, persistence and patience. Be prepared to do the hard work it takes to make your relationships with your loved ones healthier.

Think about how your abusive and violent behaviour has affected your partner, your family, your children. Focus on accepting responsibility for how seriously you have hurt the people you love.

Realise that your violent and abusive behaviour affects your children. Children and young people are severely affected when they witness domestic and family violence. Even if you try to shield them, they often see or hear what is happening and will react with distress, anxiety, shame, anger and depression.

Accept the consequences of your actions. Your partner has the right to get help from police or the courts because domestic and family violence is a crime. You may face legal consequences for using violence and abuse, either with jail time or a restraining order, such as an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).

Get professional help. You can't go this alone. It's important to get professional help. There are services and good programs that will help you stop your abusive and violent behaviours and create better relationships.

Who you can contact

If you are concerned about your behaviour or you want to find a program that will help you change your abusive and violent behaviour, there are services that can help you.

Help for men

Men's Referral Service

Men's Referral Service provides telephone counselling, information and referrals to men to help them take action to stop using violent and controlling behaviour. The service is open 24/7 and you can talk to them anonymously and confidentially or use the live chat.

Men's Behaviour Change Programs

For information on MBCPs operating in your area contact the Men's Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or Live chat; or 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

For further information about referral pathways into Men’s Behaviour Change Programs, see support for men who use violence

Registered Men's Behaviour Change Programs as at 18 October 2022.

Please note this table is updated regularly. 

What to expect

After being referred to a program there is an intake and assessment process, which usually includes an interview with an experienced men’s behaviour change worker. In the interview, the worker will have a chat and explain the requirements for joining in the program and establish expectations around your participation and what you can get out of it. This interview will also help the worker assess any risks or safety issues relating to your participation in the program.

For more information and referral to a MBCP contact the Men's Referral Service on 1300 766 491, or contact the provider operating in your area.

Provider Program Location Contact
Anglicare REBUILD

- Parramatta

- Nowra

- Ulladulla

For Parramatta, phone 1300 651 728 or email

For Nowra and Ulladulla email

Baptist Care Family and Counselling Services ​Facing Up   

​- Bankstown  

- Campbelltown

- Penrith

- Tuggerah

- via online

Phone 1300 130 225 or email
​CatholicCare Choosing Change ​- Fairfield

13 18 19

CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes SEEDS

- Wilcannia

- Forbes

1800 067 067
​CentaCare New England North-West Disrupting Family Violence

​- Tamworth

- Gunnedah

1800 372 826

CatholicCare Broken Bay Back on Track 

​- Tuggerah

- Waitara

​1800 324 924
​EveryMan Australia Working With the Man

- Queanbeyan

- Palerang

02 6230 6999

Referral webform

​Housing Plus Accountable Men

- Orange

- Lithgow

1800 603 300

Online referral form

​Illawara Koori Men’s Support Group


(Brothers Against Domestic Violence)

- Albion Park


​Kempsey Families Inc. ​Engage2Change

- Kempsey

- Nambucca Valley

(02) 6563 1588

Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services  Engage2Change ​- Port Macquarie

(02) 6583 2155

Manning Support Services Taking Responsibility

- Taree

- Forster

- Gloucester

(02) 6551 1800

Men and Family​ MEND

- Lismore

- Tweed Heads

(02) 6622 6116
NorthEast MBCP ​Men’s Behaviour Change Program ​- Albury 

0411 989 200

​Mission Australia Central and Far West NSW Manin' Up

- Broken Hill

- Dubbo

- Orange

- Walgett

- Central and Far West

​(02) 9219 2000
Relationships Australia NSW​ Taking Responsibility

- Hunter

- Parramatta

- Illawarra

1300 364 277

Relationships Australia NSW​ Building Stronger Families

Building Stronger Families is a group program for men who are new to Australia that helps to build family connections that are strong, respectful and caring. 

- Fairfield (Arabic)

- Toongabbie (Tamil)

- Merrylands (Hazaragi)

1300 364 277

​Relationships Australia Canberra and Regions ​Taking Responsibility for Respectful Relationships ​- Wagga Wagga

(02) 6122 7100

​Settlement Services International Building Stronger Families

- Fairfield (Arabic)

- Toongabbie (Tamil)

(02) 8799 6700

Warrina DFV Specialist Services Safer Futures - Coffs Harbour 0448 504 627


MensLine Australia is a 24-hour support service that can help with domestic and family violence. It offers telephone anger management and behavioural change programs, as well as online counselling. Call 1300 78 99 78 or visit the MensLine website for more information.

Men & Family Centre

The Men & Family Centre offers group programs and counselling for men who want to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour. The Men & Family Centre runs groups each week in Lismore, Byron, Ballina, Casino and Kyogle.


BaptistCare offers counselling and programs in Bankstown, Campbelltown and the Central Coast for men who want to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour.

Help for young men

Kids Helpline

Kids Helpline is a 24-hour counselling service for people under 25 years old. Call if you want to talk about violence or abuse in relationships or use the online counselling service.

Help for LGBTIQ

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer, read Do you hurt the people you care about? You can contact  No To Violence and ACON for help and information.

Say It Out Loud- external sitelaunch is an online platform on sexual, domestic and family violence designed specifically for LGBTQ+ people. The website includes information for people for LGBTQ+ who are concerned about their use of abuse, and a service finder for people seeking support, including support to change their behaviours. 

Proud Partners
Proud Partners is a group program for anyone in the LGBTQI community who is concerned about their behaviours in a relationship, such as a lack of respect, controlling behaviours, or aggression. ACON runs this program once a year and it is facilitated by trained LGBTQI professionals. If you would like to be contacted when ACON next runs this program or for more information, you can email external sitelaunch or follow Say It Out Loud and ACON’s Facebook page for information about the next group.

Q Life 
Q Life- external sitelaunch is a phone helpline and webchat providing information, referrals, support and advocacy. Specially trained volunteers and staff who identify as LGBTIQA+.
3pm to Midnight, 7 days a week
Phone: 1800 184 527- external sitelaunch

The Gender Centre
The Gender Centre- external sitelaunch provide a range of services including case management, telephone support and community outreach for transgender and gender questioning people.
Phone: (02) 9519 7599- external sitelaunch
Email: external sitelaunch

Last updated:

27 Sep 2023