|What is Domestic and Family Violence?|
Domestic Violence is a term that is used to describe violence and abuse committed by one person against another. Domestic violence occurs in all types of relationships (lesbian, gay, heterosexual). In heterosexual relationships, domestic violence is usually perpetrated by the male partner against the female partner, however, a small percentage of men are also victims. Any of the following behaviours experienced are NOT a normal part of domestic and/or family life: Domestic violence includes one or more of the following types of behaviour:
Physical Abuse includes many forms including punching; pushing or shoving; pulling hair; slapping; kicking; twisting arms; being thrown against walls or furniture; choking; and being hit with objects or injured with weapons.
Sexual Abuse includes any forced and/or unwanted sexual contact.
Verbal Abuse includes constant put-downs and criticism; comments about incompetence as a person, wife or mother; and threats of physical abuse.
Psychological / Emotional Abuse includes behaviour and comments which destroy your selfconfidence and make you believe you are insane, useless or stupid. It is a type of "brainwashing" that makes you believe that everything that goes "wrong" is your fault.
Social Abuse includes having to account constantly for everything you do; being stopped from mixing with family or friends; being put down in front of other people; being stopped from using the family car; and being denied the right to go to work and earn your own money.
Financial Abuse includes not having a say in how the family income is spent; being refused money for family needs; being expected to live on impossibly small amounts of money; and being denied the right to keep money you have earned.
Spiritual Abuse undermines your self-identity by behaviours such as criticising your spiritual beliefs; the quoting of religious texts to justify abusive behaviour; and abusing in ways that involve symbols of religion or spirituality.
Heterosexist Control is threatening to 'out' you to others where you have chosen not to come out, or feel it is unsafe to do so etc.
Reproductive Control has links with sexual abuse, but is uniquely related to women's (particularly young women's) ability to control their own reproductive health. For example, use or non use of contraception/contraceptive method, forced decisions around pregnancy and/or termination and little say in the number and timing of children. Among adolescent girls, survivors of partner abuse are significantly more likely than others to be diagnosed with an STD.
Damage to Property occurs when the house, household furniture, or anything else that you own or use is damaged or broken. This includes breaking a plate, kicking a hole in the wall, or damaging the car.
Stalking involves worrying or frightening you by watching, phoning or following you. Stalking is a crime.
Technological Abuse is an emerging form of abuse that is linked to stalking, psychological abuse and other forms of violence. This form uses technology to directly or indirectly intimidate, harass, monitor or stalk victims. Victims may not even know that this form of abuse has been occurring for some time (e.g. Personal information posted on websites, tracking devices in cars). Some examples are: use of telephone, email, GPS, spyware, listening devices, hidden cameras, keystroke logging hardware, websites & social networking sites.
The threat to engage in any of the above forms of abuse is also an act of abuse in and of itself.
Often more than one form of abuse occurs at any one time in relationships and can be interlinked.
The aim of all forms of domestic violence is to gain or maintain power and control over the other person.
What is Family Violence?
Family violence consists of similar behaviours as domestic violence, except it involves abuse from one family member to another e.g. grandparents, grandchildren, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, siblings etc. The groups considered to be "family" in family violence can be quite broad depending on your cultural background e.g. extended kinship networks in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and some communities of Non-English Speaking Background.
Whose Responsibility is the Violence?
It is common for abusers to blame the abuse on the victim, or on other outside sources. Placing the blame on the victim or on outside sources takes the focus away from the real person who is responsible - the abusive person. We can all only take responsibility for our own behaviour; we are not responsible for the behaviours of others. People who commit violence in relationships choose to do so. There is always a choice, and the only person responsible for the abuse is the abusive person. There is never an excuse for violent or abusive behaviour.