The main points

  • Domestic violence is defined by the World Health Organization as 'any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship'.
  • Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, but women are more likely to suffer repeated and more severe abuse.
  • Many victims of domestic violence suffer in silence.

What is it? 

Domestic violence is defined by the World Health Organization as 'any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship'. It can range from physical violence such as hitting, kicking and punching to emotional abuse such as isolating a partner from friends and family or repeated humiliations. It can also involve limiting access to finances or sexual violence.

Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, but women are more likely to suffer repeated and more severe abuse. It's estimated that:

  • about one in every 10 women in Australia suffer ongoing domestic violence
  • about one in five suffer occasional domestic violence.

Many victims of domestic violence suffer in silence. They fear there will be no help available, that they will be judged for staying with their partner or that it's their fault. They often feel depressed, hopeless and trapped in their situation. Some fear what could happen to their partner if they confide in a professional. To protect their partner, they might not speak with friends and feel isolated and alone.

What if it happens to me? 

If you're a victim of domestic violence or think you're being harmed in any way in your relationship, be it physically, emotionally or sexually, please visit the Domestic Violence Resource Centre. They offer information on all aspects of domestic violence and provide links to free, confidential, non-judgemental services that can help you and your family stay safe, whether or not you choose to stay in your relationship.

Where to get more information, support or advice

Disclaimer 

This website provides general information only. The suitability of such general information  varies  from   person  to   person,  depending  on individual circumstances.   You should seek specific medical or legal advice for your individual circumstances.

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Last updated: 5 June 2016

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