Abuse of any kind within a relationship is family violence.
Under Victorian Law, family violence is defined as harmful behaviour that occurs when someone hurts or threatens a family member or a person they are in a relationship with, or controls them through fear.
People from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures and circumstances experience violence and abuse at home. You don’t ask for it; you don’t deserve it. Family violence is not your fault. You are not responsible for the violent behaviour of others — not ever.
Victim-survivors of family violence are entitled to the same rights as anyone else, irrespective of their age, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability or disabilities, sexuality, gender expression or occupation.
Family violence is when one person uses power and control over another and can take many forms.
Sometimes it includes physical abuse and sometimes the person uses other ways of maintaining power and control over the victim-survivor.
Family violence includes any behaviour that is threatening and controlling that can cause you to fear for your own safety.
Living with family violence can be emotionally exhausting and physically isolating. It can also affect your relationships with other family members, friends and colleagues.
Family violence happens when one person exerts power and control over another in a relationship or family. It can occur when your relationship with someone is just beginning or when you have been in it for a long time.
Family violence can occur between parents and children, as well as between relatives and in any family-like relationships, such as with carers or housemates.
Although men may experience family violence, it is far more likely in Australia that women, nonbinary and gender diverse people will be in a relationship with someone who is or has been violent, controlling and/or abusive towards them (ABS).
Family violence may include:
- Emotional abuse e.g. manipulation, isolation, put-downs, mind games
- Financial abuse e.g. forcing you to hand over control of income or assets, coercing you to take on debt or sign a contract, or preventing you from earning an income
- Sexual abuse i.e. any unwanted sexual activity
- Social abuse e.g. insulting you in public, deciding when and where you socialise
- Threats of physical violence and revenge
- Any kind of abuse that makes you live in fear
- Property damage e.g. smashing belongings
- Harming or threatening to harm your pets
- Complex forms of violence such as forced marriage, dowry abuse or trafficking/slavery
Family violence impacts on your health and well-being. Often people in violent relationships are left feeling stressed, anxious or depressed. Many experience a worsening of a chronic illness, as a result of the stress they are living under.
Often people experiencing family violence have been isolated from their friends and family. It can be hard for them to take steps to reconnect.