Family Violence

What is Family Violence?

Legal Definition

Family violence is any behaviour that in any way controls or dominates a family member causing them to fear for their own, or other family member’s safety or well being. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic abuse and any behaviour that causes a child to hear, witness or otherwise be exposed to the effects of that behaviour.  (Family Violence Protection Act 2008)

Family Violence includes:

  • behaviour that is repeated, controlling, threatening and manipulative.
  • occurs between people who have had or are having an intimate relationship or in a family situation.
  • is used by the perpetrator to have power and control over the victim.

Family Violence has no age boundaries. 

Family violence is a crime and is unacceptable.

It is not the fault of the victim.

The perpetrator chooses this behaviour.

Forms of Violence Against Women

  • Physical hitting, slapping, choking, stabbing, murder, murder–suicide…
  • Sexual rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual abuse…
  • Emotional and verbal put downs, insults, deliberately undermining confidence, humiliating, degrading, threats of violence or punishment, manipulation…
  • Social controlling and isolating, smothering, abusing in public…
  • Economic controlling/denying money…
  • Spiritual eroding a women’s culture or religious beliefs…
  • Stalking  loitering around the victim, watching, following, persistent unwanted contact (via telephone, mail, unwanted love letters, cards and gifts)

(VicHealth – Preventing Violence against Women – Short Course 2013)

Facts and Figures

Family Violence occurs in all socio-economic groups and cultures. In Victoria approximately 80% of victims were women and children and 20% were male. (Victorian Community Council Against Violence (2006) Victorian Family Violence Database, Five year report).

It is important to remember that Family Violence is:

  • A fundamental violation of a person’s human rights
  • Can include criminal Behaviour
  • Is unacceptable in any community

Support Services contacts

Gippsland Women’s Health does not provide a direct service to people experiencing family violence.

If you are in a violent situation, know someone who is experiencing violence, or know someone who is using violence, please refer to the key contacts Family Violence Support Services here.

Indicators of Family Violence

Indicators of family violence are not always obvious. Please read the attached for more information.

Gippsland Women’s Health does not provide a direct service to people experiencing family violence. If you are in a violent situation, know someone who is experiencing violence, or know someone who is using violence, please refer to the key contacts listed below.

Always call 000 in an emergency. For 24 hour assistance, counselling, referrals and access to crisis accommodation call Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au