Domestic and family violence

Anyone can experience domestic and family violence. It happens across communities, ages, cultures and sexes.

What is domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence occurs when someone who has a close personal relationship with you makes you feel afraid, powerless, or unsafe. It can be physical, but can also be emotional and psychological. Non-physical forms of abuse can be just as damaging as physical assaults. If you feel disrespected, unable to be yourself, afraid to disagree, or negotiate for what you want, this may be a sign of abuse. Forms of abuse and violence can include:

  • Physical harm - threats of self/physical harm, smashing things, hurting pets
  • Emotional and psychological abuse - humiliation, put-downs and blaming
  • Financial abuse - strict or unfair control of money
  • Verbal abuse - name-calling, yelling
  • Social abuse - controlling where you go and who you see
  • Sexual abuse - and rape
  • Stalking - following, making excessive phone calls, texts or emails
  • Spiritual or cultural abuse - controlling practices or choices

If you are experiencing abuse or violence it is not your fault. It is the abuser who is responsible.

Deciding to leave a violent relationship is a difficult decision and requires careful planning and support. Everyone has the right to respectful, loving relationships and no one should live in fear.

  1. Find supportive friends - talk to someone you trust. Do not try to cope alone.
  2. Contact a support group - they can offer you direct help through shared experiences.
  3. Make a safety plan - include emergency numbers, pack clothing/toiletries, important documents, medication etc in case you have to escape quickly.
  4. Contact the police - when you decide to leave – the police can be on standby when you leave to ensure your safety or if you need to return to collect possessions later on.
  5. See a doctor - if you are feeling anxious or depressed. Consider talking to a counsellor/psychologist about how the experience has affected you.
  6. Recognise your strengths - to create a more positive life. Your skills and abilities helped you leave an abusive relationship and are signs of your capability under intense pressure.

If you need immediate help call 000.

It is important to remember that there is help out there. Below are some resources on how you, or someone you know, can get assistance and support through domestic and family violence. For specific help for men and women or state-specific help, please see our tool kit below.

Call 000 if you are in danger


For Crisis Support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7) or via text (12pm-midnight AEST) on 0477 13 11 14

DV Alert Logo

Make a change and become a confident first responder to signs of domestic and family violence with DV-alert.

To find out whether you're eligible and the benefits of becoming accredited, head to the DV-alert website link below.

In Australia, 23% of women and 16% of men have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner. If you are a community frontline worker in Australia, you are eligible to undertake DV-alert training so you can become a confident first responder when facing issues of domestic and family violence. For more information go to the DV-alert website.

Cameron's Story

We too often see stories of women who are the victims of domestic violence, but we rarely hear the voices of the children who are impacted.

Growing up, Cameron not only suffered the loneliness of trying to make sense of his parents’ violent relationship but also the after effects of a devious sexual abuse at the hands of a stranger. His is a story of survival, revived faith in humanity and a passion for music that has helped him find a new hopeful future.