What is: Family Violence
Family Violence: What you can do for yourself and your family.
Violence against women is a crime.
Many Australian women live with someone who is or has a been violent, controlling and/or abusive toward them. One in three women will be affected by family violence at some time during their life.
Every week in Australia a woman is killed by her male partner or ex-partner. On average, a woman will endure 35 assaults before she makes her first complaint.
Family Violence is: Any form of physical, psychological and or financial abuse or control a woman experience from her husband, domestic partner, ex-partner, family member, someone close to her or in a family like relationship.
Family Violence is against the law.
Family Violence is a crime.
Under Victorian law*, family violence is defined as harmful behaviour that occurs when someone threatens or controls a family member through fear. This applies to married and de facto couples, gay and lesbian relationships, parents and children, relatives as well as family-like relationships such as carers or flat-mates.
*Family Violence Protection Act 2008
Its not just physical.
You do not have to be physically hit or hurt to have experienced family violence.
Family violence is more than physical abuse. It includes behaviour that is threatening and controlling that can cause you to fear for your own safety, or another persons safety.
Other types of family violence include:
- Emotional abuse e.g. manipulation, isolation, put-downs, mind games.
- Financial abuse e.g. forcing you to hand over control of income or assets, coercing you to take on debt or sign a contract, not allowing you to earn an income.
- Sexual Abuse e.g. any unwanted sexual activity
- Social Abuse e.g. insulting you in public
- Threats of physical violence and revenge
- Property damage e.g. smashing your belongings
- Harming or threatening to harm your pets
‘Political action is urgently needed. In Victoria alone, police were called out to 65,393 domestic violence incidents in 2013–14 – twice as many as in 2009–10. Of those, almost 30,000 were serious enough for police to press charges. Victims are reporting more frequently, but women’s services say the actual rate of domestic violence is also increasing, as is the severity of the physical attacks. Despite growing confidence in the police, it’s still a massively under-reported crime: police estimate they only get called out to 40–50% of cases’ (Hill) .
Common methods used to coerce, control and dominate women living with family violence include:
- Telling you what to wear and were you can or cannot go
- Forcing you into sexual behaviours that are unwelcome, painful, humiliating or not your choice
- Putting you down, criticising you, insulting you in public
- Not letting you see friends and family
- Saying you are crazy, causing you to feel like you are crazy, claiming you are imagining the abuse
Family Violence can leave you feeling stressed, anxious and or depressed and impact on your health and wellbeing.
It can be difficult – even frightening – to take action to protect yourself. It is important to know there are many support systems in place to help you choose a new life that is free of violence, abuse and control. The law is on your side. Friends and family can be offered guidance to support and reconnect with you. Many service are here to help you take action.
For help to see your situation clearly, identify your options and recognise you are stronger than you think – call
WIRE Women’s Information 1300 134 130
Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre 1800 015 188
Women have the right to live free from fear and violence.
Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and to live free from fear. Nobody has the right to abuse you or control you. Women are not responsible for the violent behaviour of men – not ever. Women from all kinds of social and cultural backgrounds experience violence and abuse at home. They don’t ask for it; they don’t deserve it.
FAMILY VIOLENCE IS NOT YOUR FAULT
This information was taken from the information booklet: Family Violence: What you can do for yourself and your family. WIRE womens’ information.
Jess Hill: Home Truths
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