What is Family & Domestic Violence?

Family and domestic violence describes any violence or abuse that is used by someone to control or obtain power over their partner. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, spiritual, emotional and financial abuse.

Many people experience domestic violence and other forms of abuse without ever being physically abused. Remember, non-physical forms of abuse can be as destructive and as undermining as physical abuse.


Whilst the vast majority of those who experience domestic violence – and all forms of gender-based violence – are women, it can affect anyone.

Understanding the Impact


People experiencing family and domestic violence or abuse often feel helpless, depressed, fearful, ashamed and angry.


Family and domestic violence can have a damaging effect on children who observe or are experiencing family violence and abuse. It can affect their confidence, mental and physical health, school work, and social life.


It is important that people impacted by violence and abuse seek help as it can end in injury or death.

There are many types of abuse:

  • Physically harming you (pushing, punching, slapping, kicking or choking you) or threatening to harm you, a loved one, or a pet
  • Manipulating, shouting, humiliating, intimating and telling you that you are worthless or stupid
  • Damaging property and or pets
  • Forcing you to participate in sexual activities you don’t consent to
  • Continuing accusation of sexual infidelity
  • Expecting sex as a matter of right
  • Being kept socially isolated from family and friends
  • Controlling where you go, who you speak to and whether you work
  • Disconnecting or controlling the use of your phone.
  • Withholding, denying or restricting access to money needed for everyday things and controlling what you can and can’t buy
  • Restricting you from earning money and controlling any money you do earn
  • Stealing from you
  • Not allowing you to have or maintain your own spiritual or cultural belief system
  • Forbidding you to attend church, religious or cultural gatherings
  • Ridiculing your ethnicity, cultural beliefs and practice
  • Constant and unwanted phone calls, text messages or social media activity
  • Constant visits to your home or workplace
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