What is family violence?

Family violence is a power imbalance, where one person tries to control another. The aggressor often uses intimidation, fear and abuse to maintain that control. Many people believe that family violence is only physical abuse. However, family violence takes many different forms. It may also be psychological, sexual, financial or spiritual.

Physical Abuse

Includes hitting, pinching, slapping, pushing, punching, kicking, burning, stabbing or shooting. It may also include threats to cause harm.

Psychological Abuse

Sometimes referred to as emotional or verbal abuse. Name calling, jealousy, isolation from family and friends, and threats to leave the relationship or to commit suicide if the victim does not co-operate.

Sexual Abuse

Unwanted touching or sexual activity. It may include control over birth control, forced pregnancies or abortions and transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

Financial Abuse

When an individual uses finances to control another individual. This could include forcing a person to hand over all or part of their salary or by denying someone access to their own finances.

Spiritual Abuse

When an individual uses religious or spiritual matters to control another, such as forcing another to follow a particular faith or give up their religion.

Remember that Family Violence can occur in any home regardless of culture, ethnicity or family wealth/income and is not acceptable.

Safety Plan

  • Have important phone numbers you may need with you.
  • Have copies of important personal documents such as birth certificates, passports, driver's license, bank or insurance details.
  • Teach your children how to phone 111 and what to say.
  • Get a mobile phone and keep it safe. Work and Income may be able to help you get one.
  • You could apply for a Protection Order, we can help you with advice on this.
  • Make a plan and practice this for when violence occurs. Think about the safest place to run to - somewhere away from weapons, and where you can get outside (away from bathrooms, kitchens and garages).
  • Tell a trusted friend or neighbour if you think you have fears for your safety.
  • Have your own sets of keys to the house and car.
  • Open your own bank account and try and save a little each week.

The most important thing is for you and your children to get out safely. If the time is right to leave, just go. It doesn't matter if you haven't made a plan or don't have your belongings, important documents or valuables with you. Get out safely.