Domestic and family violence can happen to anyone at any time in their lives.  It can affect people across all cultures and backgrounds, regardless of gender, religion, sexuality, culture, country, age,  social background, or socio-economic status.  

We all have a role to play in developing a safe and respectful community. 

If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, support is available.  


  • Domestic abuse, also referred to as domestic violence, intimate partner violence, or family and domestic violence, is a personal relationship where one person is subjected by another person to physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, financial and/or emotional abuse.


    While this behaviour may occur outside the home environment, in the majority of cases the abuse happens in the home and is defined by the close or intimate relationship between people. This can include violence between current or former partners as well as acts of violence between a parent/caregiver and a child or between siblings.


  • The most striking and obvious feature of Domestic Violence is that one person will typically try to exert control over the other person. This might mean taking away their ability to make choices for themselves, keeping them isolated from other supports, or manipulating them. It will normally involve one person having their sense of autonomy taken away from them and their sense of self eroded.


    Perpetrators of Domestic and Family Violence are skilful at manipulating the thoughts of others or causing them to doubt themselves and take advantage of the trust placed in them due to the nature of the relationship. Once the dynamic of a relationship is established, a perpetrator may engage in behaviour designed to cause fear or apprehension, to the point that an individual is hyper alert and constantly trying to keep the peace.


    Things are not always as simple as they seem. Many people will often take a long time to decide to leave an abusive relationship or seek help. For many people in these situations, leaving may temporarily increase the risk of violence from a perpetrator and so this is often a carefully weighed decision especially when there are children involved.


    Children who witness Family Violence will be affected, even if they appear not to be. Counselling support for children who have experienced living in a Family and Domestic Violence situation is important to ensure behaviour, self-esteem, social & emotional mental health is managed and a sense of safety restored.


  • Sometimes, domestic and family violence is very subtle and can be controlling.  "Coercive control" is when you slowly find yourself losing control over your life.  It can include emotional and psychological manipulation along with social, financial and technology facilitated abuse. 


    Typical behaviours of Domestic or Family Violence may include but are not limited to:

    • Isolation or withdrawal of individuals or family members from friends or family
    • Control and access to money and what it is spent on
    • Dominance by one partner over the other, recent separation between partners and unhealthy family relationships and interactions
    • Making threats of violence against the person, their family, pets, or the perpetrator themselves
    • Community factors including low income, cultural backgrounds, heavy alcohol and drug use and unemployment.


  • A respectful relationship is supportive.  It encourages trust and respect, open communication, and honesty. 


    Feeling safe, valued, and cared about in relationships involves: 

    • respect, honesty and trust
    • love, companionship and shared values
    • mutual emotional support and intimacy
    • respectful communication
    • agreement about finances, child raising and other matters important to you
    • shared goals for the future


    In all relationships it is important to take care of yourself and if you feel you are not being heard or respected in your relationship, do what is best for you and seek help.  


    If you are worried about unhealthy, abusive or violent behaviour in any of your relationships, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or make a disclosure online.


  • Student Services will listen to you and provide confidential support. Counselling staff can provide you with information about support options and can help link you to specialised Domestic and Family Violence services. Support options may include financial counselling, legal support, personal counselling and housing.



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