Family violence can happen in any relationship, whether you’re straight or gay, rich or poor, educated or not, and it covers a very broad range of behaviours – broader than you might think.
The media have been talking a lot about a family violence epidemic in Australia of late. In reality, there is no epidemic. It is just that what previously was done behind dark closed doors and never mentioned, has now been brought into the blinding glare of public light and named and shamed for what it is.
Violence against family members is about power and control. When relationships break down, people can struggle to adjust to the changing landscape of their life. They may not want things to change. They may be in denial. They may be angry and out of control. If you are reading this and there is any chance you or your children could potentially be at risk of violence, please take immediate precautions and seek assistance.
You can never be too safe.
What is family or domestic violence?
Relationships Australia [www.relationships.org.au] provides an excellent summary of some of the common forms of family or domestic violence:-
|Physical abuse||Hitting, slapping, pushing, choking, kicking et|
|Sexual violence||Forced and unwanted sexual contact, demanding sex, forcing a partner to engage in sexual behaviours they do not want to|
|Verbal & emotional abuse||Putting someone down, yelling, name calling, swearing, shaming and ridiculing, saying things you know will hurt their feelings|
|Intimidation||Behaviours that instil fear such as breaking things, threatening looks, words and gestures|
|Financial abuse||Controlling your partner’s access, use and knowledge of money|
|Social abuse||Stopping your partner from seeing family, friends and other people in the community|
|Spiritual abuse||Using spiritual beliefs to control your partner, making fun of your partner’s beliefs|
All of these behaviours are unacceptable.
Warning! Time of separation = highest risk of family violence
The time of relationship separation is statistically one of the highest risk periods for family violence to occur. If you are separating from your partner, consider whether you need to take extra precautions to protect yourself and/or your children. Trust your instincts and seek help fast.
In addition to your physical security, you also now need to be aware of your online and technological security. You need to protect yourself from onlinestalking and bullying, identity theft, revenge porn and the like. Unravelling the social media connectedness of a relationship that has ended will take some time. If there is any risk of violence, you need to make this task a priority and seek help from tech-savvy friends if you’re not confident. For instance, check your mobile phone password settings and your privacy settings for emails and social media – especially Facebook. If every time you post a photo of yourself on Facebook it also geotags your location, then your location will not be a secret. Check your phone as to whether location devices have been turned on, and if so what for, or if there are any new apps you don’t recognise on your phone.
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