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 What is family and domestic violence?


In an emergency - if someone is in immediate danger - call 000 now.

Family and domestic violence is the intentional and systematic use of violence and abuse to control, coerce or create fear.

The term family and domestic violence most commonly refers to violence and abuse against an intimate partner (including same sex relationships and ex-partners) but can also occur between siblings, from adolescents to parents, or from family carers to a relative. It can include the abuse of children and young people, older people, people with a disability, and other family members.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people generally prefer to use the term family violence. This concept describes a matrix of harmful, violent and aggressive behaviours. However, the use of the term family violence should not obscure the fact that Aboriginal women and children bear the brunt of family violence.

Family and domestic violence may include:

  • Emotional/psychological abuse — mind games, manipulation, humiliation, insults, threats, put-downs, and making the person feel worthless or no good.

  • Physical assault —  pushing, slapping, punching, choking, kicking, and any other behaviour that is intended to cause harm.

  • Sexual assault — forced sexual contact/activity. 'Forced' in this context refers to individuals who are physically
    coerced to participate or who are not in a position to say no as a result of fear, threats or intimidation.

  • Social isolation — keeping the victim away from friends, family, work and/or other social opportunities.

  • Financial abuse — controlling the money and decisions around its use, taking or limiting money, stealing.

  • Spiritual abuse — keeping someone away from places of worship or forcing them to participate in spiritual or
    religious practice that they do not want to be involved with.

     1 in 4 children experience family and domestic violence              Rates of family violence are higher for Aboriginal women


For more information:

Fact Sheet 1 Forms of family and domestic violence (PDF)
Fact Sheet 2 Indicators of family and domestic violence (PDF)
Fact Sheer 3 Perpetrator characteristics (PDF)
Fact Sheet 6 Impacts of family and domestic violence on women (PDF)
Fact Sheet 7 Impacts of family and domestic violence on children (PDF)





Useful links:

The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) website contains more detail relating to sexual assault, including how to get emergency assistance and support. www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au/services/sarc

  Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) is an independent, not-for-profit company established as an initiative under Australia’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. It is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia, who are the members of the company. www.anrows.org.au 


   The Line is a website about relationships, gender, sex, bystander action, technology and communication for young people. The focus is on how to keep behaviours healthy and respectful, and avoid crossing the line that makes someone feel frightened, intimidated or diminished. www.theline.org.au


  Our Watch was established to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and children.  www.ourwatch.org.au


 1800RESPECT (the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Service) is a confidential telephone and online counselling service, staffed by professional counsellors to assist any person who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.  You can access this service by calling 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visiting www.1800respect.org.au 


White Ribbon Australia - White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women.The campaign works through primary prevention initiatives involving awareness raising and education, and programs with youth, schools, workplaces and across the broader community. www.whiteribbon.org.au   


  DV-alert (Domestic Violence Response Training) is Lifeline's free accredited training program that enables health, allied health and frontline workers to confidently recognise signs of family and domestic violence, provide appropriate responses and refer to relevant support services. www.dvalert.org.au  


  The Women's Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services is a state-wide peak organisation committed to improving the status of women and children in society, and seeking to ensure that all women and children live free of domestic and family violence. The WCDFVS operates from a feminist perspective and proactively advocates for social justice in order to further empowerment, access, equity and safety for all women and children. www.womenscouncil.com.au  


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