Domestic Violence

Domestic & family violence is conduct that is violent, threatening, coercive, controlling or intended to cause the family or household member to be fearful. It can include: physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse; neglect; financial abuse; stalking; harm to an animal or property; restricting your spiritual or cultural participation as well as exposing children to the effects of these behaviours.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour which involves violence or other forms of abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in a marriage. Domestic violence can take a number of forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious & sexual abuse & can range from subtle extreme acts of violence resulting in death.

Worldwide the victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly women, and women tend to experience more severe forms of violence. Domestic violence is among the most underreported crimes worldwide for both men and women.

Domestic violence occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. Often few people recognize themselves as abusers or victims because they may consider their experiences as family disputes that just got out of control

Victims of domestic violence may be trapped in domestic violent situations through control, power & isolation, cultural acceptance, lack of financial resources, fear, shame or to protect children.

Children who live in a household with violence often show psychological problems from an early age which may later contribute to continuing the legacy of abuse when they reach adulthood.


Understanding Domestic Violence (DV)

Domestic violence is also commonly known as family violence, relationship violence, intimate partner violence & child abuse and is prevalent in Australia.

Domestic violence is generally ongoing behaviour that gradually undermines the victim’s confidence and ability to leave the violent person. Often the severity and frequency of violence escalate over time.

Domestic violence takes many forms including physical violence as well as sexual, emotional, verbal, social, spiritual and economic abuse.

Examples of Domestic Violence may include, isolating a victim from family and friends, controlling their access to money, diminishing their self-esteem, preventing them from practising their religious beliefs, intimidation and threatening behaviour.

Domestic violence occurs in all kinds of relationships, including intimate partners, older people & their children (elder abuse), other family members, including step-parents, parents and their teenage or adult children, friends as well as people with disabilities and their carers

In Australia some forms of domestic abuse, such as physical & sexual violence & the threat of such violence are criminal offences.

Domestic violence often causes significant and long-term harm to its victims and is costly to the community.

While domestic violence occurs across all social groups, socio-economic inequalities are also linked to the experience of violence, and the ability to access resources to recover from it.

Social and economic factors often influence people’s ability to escape abusive relationships.

Addressing domestic violence requires a strong multifaceted approach, a single response to the violence, such as arrest, the laying of criminal charges, or leaving the perpetrator, will not necessarily end the violence or intimidation. Victims need to be supported often through a long journey of recovery.



  • Around 500,000 Australian women reported that they had experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months.
  • Over 1,000,000 women had experienced physical or sexual assault by their male current or ex-partner since the age of fifteen (some women may be counted twice if they experienced both physical and sexual assault).
  • 37.8% of women who experienced physical assault in the 12 months before the survey said the perpetrator was a current or previous male partner and 34.4% said the perpetrator was a male family member or friend.  Most incidences of physical assault against women in the 12 months prior to 2005 were committed in a home (64.1%).
  • 33.3% of women had experienced physical violence since the age of fifteen.
  • 19.1% of women had experienced sexual violence since the age of fifteen.
  • 12.4% of women had been sexually abused before the age of fifteen, compared with 4.5% of men, between 1996 and 2005. There was an increase in the reporting of sexual assault to police from 14.9% to 18.9% between 1996 and 2005 and there was an increase in the reporting of physical violence to police from 18.5% to 36%.
  • 64% of women who experienced physical assault and 81.1% of women who experienced sexual assault still did not report it to police.  The proportion of women aged between 18 and 34 who reported experiencing physical violence has decreased but the proportion of women who reported experiencing physical violence after 45 increased over the same period.  The percentage of women who reported that their children had witnessed partner-related violence either from a current or ex-partner was lower than in 1996.
  • The majority of violence against men is committed by other men. Of men who reported that they had experienced physical violence in the 12 months before the survey, 73.7% said that the perpetrator was a male.
For assistance, support and advice go to VICTIMS COMPENSATION