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Domestic and Family Violence

Domes­tic and fam­i­ly vio­lence hap­pens when one per­son in a rela­tion­ship uses vio­lent or abu­sive behav­iour to con­trol anoth­er person.

What caus­es Domes­tic and Fam­i­ly Violence?

Domes­tic vio­lence is caused by peo­ple who make a deci­sion to abuse.

There are com­plex inter­sec­tions which exac­er­bate the issue of domes­tic vio­lence. Exter­nal and envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors cre­ate the con­di­tions in which domes­tic vio­lence, or specif­i­cal­ly vio­lence to women and chil­dren, is cre­at­ed and main­tained. These are:

  • Gen­der stereotypes
  • Tox­ic masculinity
  • Atti­tudes of con­trol towards women
  • Con­don­ing of vio­lence generally
  • Dynam­ics where men make all the deci­sions and hold all the power
  • Back­lash fac­tors (when the above is dis­rupt­ed). It is often the case that abusers are the most vio­lent when their con­trol or their pow­er over their vic­tim is being challenged
  • Ongo­ing impacts of colo­nial­ism and racism

Who can be involved in Domes­tic and Fam­i­ly Violence?

Domes­tic and fam­i­ly vio­lence does not just hap­pen between hus­bands and wives.

It can hap­pen in lots of close rela­tion­ships, includ­ing, but not lim­it­ed to: 

  • De fac­to rela­tion­ships, who are peo­ple who live togeth­er like hus­band and wife but are not married
  • Same sex relationships 
  • Rel­a­tives, includ­ing moth­ers, fathers, sib­lings, aun­ties, uncles, grand­par­ents, cousins, chil­dren, step-chil­dren and step-par­ents, in-laws, and rel­a­tives by Abo­rig­i­nal tra­di­tion or practice
  • Peo­ple who are or have been dat­ing, even if casu­al­ly and not sexual 
  • For­mer partners

Types of Domes­tic and Fam­i­ly Violence

Exam­ples of types of domes­tic and fam­i­ly vio­lence include, but are not lim­it­ed to:

  • Phys­i­cal abuse, including:
    • Hit­ting, includ­ing with a weapon
    • Punch­ing
    • Kick­ing
    • Bit­ing
    • Chok­ing
    • Spit­ting
  • Ver­bal abuse, including:
    • Yelling
    • Swear­ing
  • Sex­u­al abuse, including:
    • Forced kiss­ing or touching
    • Forced sex, regard­less of if the par­ties are in an inti­mate relationship
    • Forced watch­ing of pornography
  • Emo­tion­al abuse, including:
    • Threat­ens to cause harm to a per­son, their chil­dren, fam­i­ly, or pets
    • Unfair­ly blam­ing people
    • Putting peo­ple down
    • Manip­u­lat­ing people
    • Con­tin­ued and unwant­ed con­tact, includ­ing through social media
  • Social abuse, including:
    • Restrain­ing a per­son from spend­ing time with their friends and family
    • Con­stant­ly mon­i­tor­ing where a per­son is, and what they are doing
    • Restrict­ing con­trol of phone, keys, wal­let, or car
  • Finan­cial abuse, including:
    • Restrict­ing a per­son­’s use of their mon­ey, Basics Card, or deb­it card
    • Forc­ing some­one to obtain loans
    • Con­trol­ling, and not shar­ing, fam­i­ly finances