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Family Violence and Safety

Healthy relationships are built on respect, equality, and trust. While minor disagreements are common, you should never feel afraid in your relationships.

Family violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour where one person tries to control another through fear. It can be perpetrated by a partner, ex-partner, or family member.

Anyone can be affected by family violence, and anyone can be an abuser.

If you are experiencing family violence, it is not your fault. Family violence is illegal and unacceptable.

In Victoria, family violence can include a range of behaviours, such as:

  • Physical abuse, e.g. shoving, punching, slapping, damaging your property, hurting pets
  • Sexual abuse, e.g. intimidating or forcing you into sexual activity
  • Emotional and psychological abuse, e.g. humiliating, belittling or criticising you
  • Social abuse, e.g. controlling where you go or who you see
  • Financial abuse, e.g. withholding money, controlling bank accounts
  • Spiritual and cultural abuse, e.g. preventing or forcing you into religious or cultural practices
  • Stalking, e.g. following you or tracking your phone location, excessive calling or texting
  • Threats of violence and abuse, e.g. threatening to hurt you or themselves

It is not always easy to recognise family violence. Abuse can start in subtle ways, and often becomes worse over time.

Ask yourself

It is not always easy to recognise family violence. Abuse can start in subtle ways, and often becomes worse over time.

If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, you and those close to you may need help.

  • Do you ever feel afraid of your partner or family member?
  • Do they ever hit you or physically harm you in another way?
  • If they have been aggressive, do they blame you for their actions?
  • Do they make you feel like you can’t do anything right?
  • Do they constantly check up on you or demand to know where you’ve been?
  • Do they put you down, call you names or belittle you?
  • Do they control your money, or not give you enough to buy necessities?
  • Do they try to monitor or restrict your contact with friends and family?
  • Do they force or pressure you into sexual acts?
  • Do they threaten to hurt you, someone you care about (including children and pets) or themselves?
  • Are you ever worried that your children are witnessing things they shouldn’t be?

This list is not exhaustive, and you may feel uncertain about other behaviours. Support is available. We are here to help you, without judgement.