On average, one woman a week is killed in Australia as a result of domestic violence.
This year, unfortunately, this statistic has almost been doubled (1).
Domestic Violence crosses lines of ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation, and age and, while both men and women experience domestic violence, Australian police and court crime data indicate that women constitute a significant proportion of reported victims of intimate violence, while men make up a significant proportion of reported abusers (2).
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour through which a person seeks to control and dominate another person (3).
Individuals who engage in abusive behaviours use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to claim power and control over their partner. They isolate their partner from friends and family to make sure they have no support and no one to turn to. The abuser may use blame, justification, and minimisation to make the victim feel like they are in some way responsible for the violence and abuse. It’s important to know that this is not true and that the abuser is solely responsible for the violence (4).
Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether you are actually in an abusive relationship. Possessiveness, put downs and jealousy are more subtle ways that perpetrators exert power and control in relationships.
Signs of an Abusive Relationship
The table below (4) lists characteristics of both healthy and abusive relationships:
If you think that you may be in an abusive relationship, it is important to seek support. Talk to a relative, friend, counsellor, psychologist, or health professional about what you are experiencing as isolation is one way abusers maintain their power and control.
Call 000 if you feel you are in danger and have a safety plan in place to make sure that you know what to do if you feel that the situation is getting dangerous and out of control. You can also call DV Connect on 1800 811 811 to discuss your safety plan and access support.
Author: Amanda Hansen, B Psych, MAPS.
Amanda Hansen is a psychologist with nearly a decade of experience in working with adults, adolescents, and couples experiencing a range of life challenges. Amanda is passionate about helping her clients develop therapeutic goals, and working together to achieve lasting change.
To make an appointment, freecall 1800 877 924 or you can book Amanda Hansen online now.
- Edwards, M (2015) Domestic Violence: Call for overhaul as crisis reaches ‘epidemic’ proportions. abc.net.au
- Meyering I & Braaf R (2013). Gender and intimate partner violence. Sydney: Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. Retrieved from http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/Fast_Facts_9.pdf
- Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA). Definition of Domestic Violence. Retrieved from http://www.ncsmc.org.au
- White Ribbon Australia. Fact Sheet 6 – Family and domestic violence. Retrieved from http://www.whiteribbon.org.au