What is Domestic & Family Violence?
Domestic Violence is often thought of as being mainly about physical abuse of a woman by her male partner, however, domestic violence can be any behaviour used to exert POWER and CONTROL over a person through fear. Domestic and family violence takes place in the context of an intimate partner relationship; against a previous intimate partner, within a family relationship, or in an informal care relationship.
Domestic Violence occurs when someone in an intimate relationship uses FEAR to CONTROL their partner.
Domestic Violence is about the ABUSE of POWER by one person over another in that relationship.
Domestic Violence is GENDERED in nature, in that it is mainly perpetrated against women and their children by men
In an effort to gain or maintain POWER and CONTROL and instil FEAR over another person, a wide range of abusive behaviours can be adopted by perpetrators of domestic violence and include but are not limited to:-
Physical abuse Can be direct assaults on the body, punching, pushing, causing or threatening personal injury using objects or weapons; assault on children, being denied access to your home, deprivation of sleep or food. Verbal abuse Constant put-downs, ridicule, name calling, humiliation in public or in private, focus of insults around sexuality, body image, intelligence or parenting skills Social abuse Systematically controlling who you see, who you speak to or receive phone calls, messages or email from, where you go; even where you live so that you become socially or geographically isolated from other people. Financial
Refusing you access to money or providing an inadequate allowance; especially where the money is legally due to you whether via welfare entitlements or your own wages or preventing you from seeking or holding down a job Damage to personal property Using physical strength or violence to intimidate you by causing or threatening to cause damage to your property or valuables, e.g. kicking walls, throwing things, pulling a door off hinges or damaging your furniture, car or personal belongings Psychological Behaviour and / or comments and taunts to undermine your sense of self, your personal security or which are likely to impose a sense of vulnerability around your personal safety or mental health and wellbeing. E.g. driving dangerously, threatening or causing, injury to pets, making threats about custody of children or asserting that the no one including the courts would believe your story Spiritual / Cultural- Not allowing you to practise your chosen religion or cultural beliefs, or misusing religious or spiritual traditions to justify physical or other abuse towards you Stalking Constantly worrying or frightening you by following you, watching you, phoning or messaging you and waiting outside your home or workplace Sexual abuse ANY forced or unwanted sexual contact or activity. For more detailed information about Sexual Abuse click here
Domestic Violence occurs within all cultures, demographics, socio-economic and age groups, within intimate personal relationships including same sex relationships.
The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 also affords protection to victims within Informal Care Relationships, where a person providing unpaid care to another misuses the imbalance of power in that relationship to control, abuse and instil fear in the one they have volunteered to care for.
Legislation also covers Family Violence between adult family members within the immediate or extended family. However, Family Violence does not always include the elements of fear and control that are present in Domestic Violence within Intimate Personal Relationships.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities generally refer to the violence within their intimate relationships and wider families as Family Violence.
For some people Domestic and Family Violence may be perceived as a private family issue, but it is unfortunately a wide reaching community issue. It affects the physical health and emotional wellbeing, the learning capacity and productivity and ability to earn a living for thousands of men women and children across Queensland every day.
Domestic and Family Violence towards older people includes any act within a relationship of trust which results in harm to an older person and is referred to as Elder Abuse.
The most common forms of elder abuse include physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse and neglect. For more detailed information and advice click here.
Are You Under 18?
One of the best groups to call is Kid’s Help Line on 1800 55 1800 (it’s free to call them).
Kids Help Line has people you can talk to who understand your worries and know how to explain things to you and how to help you. They have lots of experience talking with young people and will listen to your story. Kids Help Line can talk with you about what you want to do.
There are also websites that are designed especially for young people with useful tips and information about what you can do or who else you can call.
If they have a number beginning with 1800 – you don’t pay for the call – it’s free – OR you can call them and ask them to call you back.
“We have no choice of what colour we’re born or who our parents are or whether we’re rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we’re” ~Mildred Taylor
The impact of Domestic and Family Violence on children and young people
There is no doubt that domestic violence affects children negatively. Children, who witness regular acts of Domestic or Family Violence, even if they are not physically assaulted themselves, have a greater likelihood of developing emotional and behavioural problems than other children.
Children and young people living with violence, are often directly involved in the abusive situation either through witnessing the abuse, being abused themselves or suffering as a result of parental stress and frustration. For older children having to ‘step up’ to take care of siblings, may deprive them of their own childhood, as they take on more responsibility and bare the stress of protecting their siblings as well as themselves or even their parent.
If you are concerned about the welfare or safety of a child or children, you must understand that at some level the child or young person may believe they have somehow caused or contributed to the situation and could feel they have some responsibility or control over what has happened or is happening around them.
It is vital that children are encouraged to understand that the abuse is not their fault, that they are loved and cared for and that it’s okay to talk about how they are feeling or thinking. The impact will vary according to their age, gender, and role in the family, but the effects of Domestic and Family Violence on children and young people are very serious and can last a lifetime.
If you are concerned about your child or children or a child or children you care for, talk with a counsellor at DVConnect Womensline on 1800 811 811.