What is family violence

Family and domestic violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. Ref: https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/what-family-violence

Domestic and family violence includes different types of abuse. Ref: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/domestic-violence/about/types-of-abuse-in-dv A person doesn’t need to experience all of these types of abuse for it to be a crime under the law. The 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
  • ridiculing religious beliefs or ethnic background
  • screaming, shouting, name-calling, put-downs

Physical abuse

  • direct assault on the body (choking, strangulation, shaking, eye injuries, biting, slapping, pushing, spitting, burning, punching, kicking, pulling hair)
  • use of weapons including objects
  • hurting the children
  • locking the victim in or out of the house or rooms
  • forcing the victim to take drugs
  • not allowing medication, food or medical care
  • not allowing sleep

Psychological abuse

  • creating fear, such as driving dangerously, possessing weapons, angry looks
  • destroying  property or valued possessions
  • hurting or killing 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 self-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 work or 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

Sexual abuse

  • any form of pressured or unwanted sex or sexual degradation causing pain during sex
  • assaulting genitals (hurting your private parts)
  • 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

Spiritual or religious abuse

  • using spiritual or religious beliefs to scare, hurt or control you
  • stopping you or shaming you for practising your spiritual or religious beliefs
  • forcing you or your children to take part in spiritual or religious practices when you don’t want to
  • forcing you to raise your children according to spiritual or religious beliefs you don’t agree with
  • using religious or spiritual leaders or teachings to force you to stay in the relationship or marriage, as an excuse for their violent and abusive behaviour, stop you or your children from getting medical or health care, force you into a marriage you don’t want

Reproductive abuse

  • forcing or pressuring you to have unprotected sex, become pregnant or have an abortion
  • passing on a sexually transmitted infection they know they have
  • doing things to stop your birth control, such as throwing them away, hiding them, stopping you from buying them
  • preventing or limiting your access to sexual health services and information
  • forcing you to have operations to remove parts of your genitals

Imaged-based abuse

  • also known as “revenge porn”, it’s when a nude or sexual image of you is taken and shared without your permission
  • sharing or threatening to share intimate, nude or sexual photos or videos of you to friends, family, strangers in person, on the internet, on social media sites, or through a text message or app
  • accessing personal computer files to steal images
  • Photoshopping a person’s image onto a sexually explicit photo or video
  • taking images of a woman’s cleavage or under her skirt
  • secretly filming sexual activity or sexual assault