What is domestic and family violence?

Any relationship where another person is abusive, violent, intimidating, threatening, or is making you feel scared is considered domestic and family violence.

Every family has times when they disagree and don’t get along. But there’s a difference between not getting along, and hurting, humiliating, threatening or frightening other family members.

Domestic and family violence can take many shapes. It’s important to know that it’s not always physical things, like kicking and punching. It can be financial, like controlling someone by not giving them money or getting angry about money, or psychological, like abusive text messages, demanding phone calls or constantly monitoring a partner’s activity.

Sound scary? It’s all domestic violence and none of it is okay.

  1. Domestic Abuse

    Physical

    This is the form of violence many of us are most familiar with and involves causing physical harm to control another person. For example:

    • Kicking
    • Punching
    • Choking
    • Purposely knocking over or causing other kinds of injury
     

    Financial

    Financial abuse can start with subtle, controlling behaviour and can end in complete control over another person’s finances. For example:

    • Withholding money
    • Getting angry about the amount of money spent
    • Stopping one person from working
     

    Psychological

    Psychological abuse can affect your inner thoughts and feelings as well as exert control over your life. Examples are:

    • Destroying personal items that belong to someone else to frighten them
    • Sending a stream of abusive text messages or demanding phone calls
    • Constantly keeping check of where a partner is and what they’re doing
  2. So what does a healthy family look like?

    Healthy families trust, support and show respect for one another. Family members communicate with each other, and listen to one another.Examples of positive, respectful behaviours include:

    • interacting respectfully so that family members feel safe listening to members of your family
    • being supportive of your family
    • respecting others’ feelings, friends, activities and opinions so that they feel safe to speak openly and honestly without fear of judgement
    • taking responsibility for your behaviour, for example, admitting when you are wrong
    • making family decisions together and sharing family responsibilities.
  3. I feel guilty and ashamed – is this normal?

    When faced with any kind of abuse, you may feel a range of things, including sick, anxious, depressed, guilty or ashamed. You may also not feel like hanging with your friends, not want to do school work, or not want to talk at all.These feeling are completely normal in this situation, it’s okay to ask for help at any point in time. Find out who you can talk to here.