What is Family Violence? 2018-09-13T02:20:25+00:00

What is
Family Violence?

NEED HELP NOW?

What is Family Violence?

Legal Definition (Family Violence Protection Act 2008)
Family violence is any behaviour that in any way controls or dominates a family member that causes 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 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 to behave in this manner.

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)

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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 listed Family Violence Support Services here.

Indicators of Family Violence

The indicators of family violence are not always obvious. Care must also be taken not to jump to conclusions, because some of the indicators may be attributable to other causes. However if there is a pattern or history of these indicators, there may be a history of abuse.

Women

  • Physical injury including bruising (especially to chest, breasts, abdomen, and genitals), broken bones, burn marks.
  • Abused women are more likely to experience chronic pain.
  • Greater risk of suicide attempts.
  • High risk of substance (alcohol and drug) abuse.
  • Depression, panic phobia, anxiety, sleeping disorders, emotional problems.
  • Higher rates of miscarriage (pregnancy is often a time when family violence begins or is exacerbated).
  • Frequent diagnoses of vague complaints and use of minor tranquillizers and pain killers.
  • High stress levels.
  • Fewer coping and problem solving skills.
  • Social isolation, (including from family support).

Children

  • Low birth weight for gestational age.
  • Physical injuries, bruising, burns, injuries to genitals (particularly with implausible explanations).
  • Prone to adjustment problems.
  • Depression.
  • Low self esteem.
  • Nervous and withdrawn demeanour.
  • Headaches, abdominal complaints, asthma, peptic ulcers, stuttering.
  • Bedwetting.
  • Restlessness.
  • Excessive cruelty to animals.
  • Mimicking aggressive language and behaviour in their play.
  • Decreased interpersonal sensitivity that is a reduction in ability to understand social situations, including thoughts and feelings of people involved.
  • Lower social competency, particularly boys.
  • Adjustment problems.
  • Accident problems.
  • Malnutrition.

Young people

  • Physical injuries, bruising, burns, injuries to genitals (particularly with implausible explanations).
  • School absenteeism.
  • Self harming i.e. slashing, cutting.
  • Drug use i.e. chroming, alcohol etc.
  • Suicidal ideation and behaviour.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Hyper-vigilance or exaggerated startle response.
  • Arrive early and /or stay late at school.
  • Lack of enthusiasm or concentration.
  • Depression, anxiety.
  • Low self esteem.
  • Nervous or withdrawn demeanour.
  • Health complaints, such as headaches, abdominal problems, asthma, stuttering.
  • Aggressive or violent behaviour.
  • Addictive behaviour, e.g. over zealous sporting activities.
  • Firelighting.
  • Abuse of animals.
  • Absconding behaviour.
  • Social changes in school or work performance.
  • Difficulties with trust in adults, emotional attachments and maintaining relationships.

(from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria training booklet, “Young People and Domestic Violence” – August 2006) 

Take the Family Violence Quiz

Answer: d. Gender

Generally a male dominated area. Women are generally the victims. About 80% of all cases of Family Violence are about power and control where women are the victims and men are the perpetrators.

Answer: c. When she attempts to leave.

One of the times when a woman is at her highest risk more likely to be harmed or even murdered when she is planning to leave or in the first few months of actually having left.

Partner violence is strongly associated with early pregnancy. Women with a history of previous partner violence were almost three times as likely to miscarry and 2.5 times to have a pre-term baby.

Answer: c. $1.8 billion

A report by Access Economics estimated that the total cost of domestic Violence in 2002 – 03 was $1.8 billion. This estimate includes the cost of pain and suffering, health costs and long – term productivity costs. Source: Access Economics (2004) The Cost of Domestic violence to the Australian Economy, Office of the Status of Women, Commonwealth of Australia.

Get Help

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.

In an emergency – call Police on 000

For Contacts and Support Services

Stop Family Violence Card/Poster

Stop Family Violence Cards and A3 Posters provide a full list of Gippsland and Statewide Family Violence Support Services.

The cards and posters are designed to be displayed in public places to raise awareness of Family Violence and list support services available.

DOWNLOAD A3 POSTER
DOWNLOAD CARD INSIDE
DOWNLOAD CARD OUTSIDE
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Order hard copy Family Violence Cards and Posters

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Gippsland Women’s Health is NOT a crisis centre. 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 here.

If you are in crisis please contact:

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