What is Domestic and Family Violence

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Domestic and Family Violence occurs when one person in a current or former relationship uses violence and abuse to exercise or maintain power and control over another person. This includes behaviour that is:

  • physically, sexually, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically or economically abusive
  • threatening and coercive or aimed at controlling or dominating the other person through fear

Domestic violence can occur in any relationship including current or former: partners, spouses, carers or paid support workers, parents, guardians, adult children and adolescents. We know that domestic and family violence does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone regardless of their religion, culture, social background, gender or sexuality.

There may be instances where employees who use or may use violence and abuse are using workplace resources and time. This may allow the individual to be abusive towards a victim. It is never acceptable to use the workplace to be abusive to those within or outside the workplace as all employees have the right to feel safe at work.

Forms of Domestic Violence

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Physical Abuse can be any direct assault on the body, whether they are using objects, weapons or their own physical strength. Assault on children, denying access to your home or depriving you of food or sleep are all physical abuse. Physical abuse is a crime.

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Shaming, name-calling, ridicule, constant-put downs, humiliation in public or in private are all verbal abuse. If they constantly insult you about your body, sexuality, image, intelligence, or parenting skills or they use insults to make you feel guilty, useless, or ashamed, they also could be verbally abusing you.

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If they are controlling who you see, who you can send or receive phone calls from, who you message, email or speak to then they could be socially abusing you. They could be controlling where you travel to, isolating you from others. This is also social abuse.

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Any non-consensual or unwanted sexual contact or activity is sexual abuse. It is not "your duty" as a wife, husband, partner, fiance to consent to any sexual act. Sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual violence are all serious crimes.

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If your partner refuses to give you access to money, especially if that money legally belongs to you, this is financial abuse. Whether this be wages or inheritance. If they accumulate debt in your name or prevent your from keeping/seeking employment they could also be financially abusive.

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Threatening to or causing damage to your property or valuables to intimidate you could be domestic violence. This can be whether they are using their physical strength or a weapon.

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Psychological or emotional abuse can be any behaviour or comments/taunts that undermine your sense of who you are and personal security. In doing this they may make you feel vulnerable surrounding your mental health, wellbeing or personal safety.

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Digital abuse could take the form of using technology to bully harass or intimidate a partner. These include threats to share private data, such as photos, online. This type of abuse could also involve controlling who you are friends with on social media.

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Restricting or preventing you from practicing your chosen religious or cultural beliefs is spiritual or cultural abuse. As well, if they misuse religious or spiritual traditions to justify physical or other abuse towards you, this is also spiritual or cultural abuse.

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If they are intimidating, worrying, or frightening you by following you then this is considered stalking. Stalking can take the form of watching you, constantly phoning, writing letters, messaging you, or waiting outside of your home or workplace. Stalking is a crime.