What is domestic and family violence?
Council’s characterisation of domestic and family violence is based on the NSW and Commonwealth government’s definitions.
Domestic and family violence includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and verbal abuse. It can also include economic abuse, harassment and/ or stalking. This violence is abusive or intimidating behaviour carried out by a person against a partner or family member to control and dominate that person and causes physical and/ or psychological harm.
Domestic and family violence affects the victim and other family members – particularly children and young people. It can also affect the family’s social and financial wellbeing. A family relationship includes people who are related to one another through blood, marriage or de facto partnerships, adoption and fostering relationships, sibling and extended family relationships. It includes the full range of kinship ties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities, extended family relationships, and families within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) communities.
The overwhelming majority of survivors of domestic violence are women but men can also be victims of this violence in heterosexual and in same-sex relationships.
Unfortunately most people only find out about domestic and family violence when they read or see something in the media and this is usually a report on someone- almost always a woman and or children – being killed or seriously injured.
As a result of this lack of knowledge, many people mistakenly believe things that can make it harder for survivors to get help.
If we don’t understand something it also means we are less able to do something to prevent it.
It is important to know that:
- No one wants to be the victim of domestic or violence
- Both women and men can be victims of domestic and family violence but women are much more likely to be the victims
- On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia
- One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence, since the age of 15
- One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner
- One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner
- Women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner
- Women are five times more likely than men to require medical attention or hospitalisation as a result of intimate partner violence, and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives
- Of those women who experience violence, more than half have children in their care
- Particular groups of women are more likely to experience domestic and family violence including women with disabilities, older women; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and those from some cultural and language groups.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people are also affected by domestic and family violence and LGBTIQ survivors find it harder to access services and help.
We are still learning about the experience of people surviving elder abuse including the numbers of people who are surviving it. Rates vary from 2% to 14% and the most common forms of abuse include physical, sexual, financial, psychological and neglect.
Learn more for yourself about domestic and family violence from these free resources and share with others what you've learned. If you work in an organisation or help with a community group you could distribute information and resources on domestic and family violence. Different specialist organisations have free printed materials including fact sheets, posters etc. that you can display and have available for people to pick up or you could add information to your existing materials such as newsletters for members or staff.
The organisations offer free materials and resources to help you learn and share:
- Our Watch - Understanding Violence - preventing violence against women
- White Ribbon - men taking action to prevent violence against women
- ACON Health - information and support for the LGBTIQ community
- Elder Abuse Online Help
- Family & Community Services NSW