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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence line (24 hours)1800 65 64 63 if you are in immediate danger call 000

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What is domestic violence?

What is domestic violence?

Domestic and family violence is violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour in a relationship. This relationship can be a partner, carer or family member. For more information see Who experiences it?

Abusive behaviour isn’t just physical violence. It can be any behaviour meant to control, dominate, humiliate or scare the other person.

Domestic and family violence can include lots of different types of abuse. A person does not need to experience all of these types of abuse for it to be domestic or family violence.

Types of abuse can include:

Verbal abuse

  • swearing and continual humiliation, in private or in public
  • attacks on intelligence, sexuality, body image and capacity as a parent and spouse.

Psychological abuse

  • driving dangerously
  • destroying  property
  • abusing pets in front of family members
  • making threats regarding custody of any children
  • saying that the police and the courts will not help, support or believe the victim
  • threatening to ‘out’ the person.

Emotional abuse

  • blaming the victim for all problems in the relationship
  • constantly comparing the victim with others to undermine their-esteem and self-worth
  • sporadic sulking
  • withdrawing all interest and engagement (for example weeks of silent treatment)
  • emotional blackmail and suicidal threats.


Social abuse

  • isolation from family and friends such as ongoing rudeness to family and friends to alienate them, or limiting contact with family and friends
  • instigating and controlling the move to a location where the victim has no established social circle or work opportunities
  • restricting use of the car or telephone
  • forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people.

Financial abuse

  • forbidding access to bank accounts
  • providing only a small ‘allowance’
  • not allowing the victim to have a job
  • forcing the victim to sign documents or make false declarations
  • using all the wages earned by the victim for household expenses
  • controlling the victim’s pension
  • denying that the victim is entitled to joint property.

Physical abuse

  • direct assault on the body (choking, shaking, eye injuries, biting, slapping, pushing, spitting, burning, punching, or kicking)
  • use of weapons including objects
  • assaulting the children
  • locking the victim in or out of the house or rooms
  • forcing the victim to take drugs
  • withholding medication, food or medical care
  • sleep deprivation.

Sexual abuse

  • any form of pressured/unwanted sex or sexual degradation causing pain during sex
  • assaulting genitals
  • forced sex without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease
  • making the victim perform sexual acts unwillingly (including taking or distributing explicit photos without their consent)
  • criticising or using sexually degrading insults.

Harassment and stalking

  • following and watching
  • telephone and online harassment
  • tracking with Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • being intimidating
  • coming into your own place without permission.

If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence you can get help.