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Understanding and Preventing Domestic Family Violence

Domestic Family Violence including sexual violence and coercive control is a major health and welfare issue in Australia. It occurs across all ages, income levels and demographic groups. Unfortunately it is women who are the most significantly affected.

The statistics in Australia are confronting and show the issue is one of great importance for governments and communities to solve.

If you are experiencing domestic family violence, you are not alone. 1 in 6 (1.6 million) women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner they live with since the age of 15. In addition, more than half the women who have reported violence from a partner, have reported more than one incidence of violence or abuse.

Domestic violence can take many forms, sometimes it is physical or sexual assault. In other circumstances it can be the establishment of emotional harm, fear, coercive control, financial control, technological abuse or various forms of stalking and harassment.

The situations and circumstances around Domestic Family Violence are complex and often victims feel reluctant to immediately leave an abusive relationship. If you are in this situation, there are a few precautions you can take to keep yourself safe.

  • Monitor the signs that your abuser is becoming upset or irritated.
  • Identify multiple safe spaces in your home, avoiding small spaces or rooms with weapons.
  • Keep a secure record or ask a friend to keeps notes on what is happening and when. This will help if you decide to get the authorities involved.
  • Establish a code word with a trusted friend to use if you are in danger.
  • You are not alone, reach out to a trusted friend, colleague or support organisation who can help you navigate a pathway to safety.
  • Understand how technology works, including regularly changing passwords, delete your browser history, and try to only use devices that you have sole access.

Many women have been able to move on from a Domestic Family Violence event. These women were not to blame for their situation, they were not alone and they have been able to rebuild a happy and safe life.

The good news is there are countless community and government resources available to help. Many of these groups can help you prepare and navigate from the relationship. In Australia, there has also been a significant community shift amongst men, where men are encouraged to seek help if they or someone they know are a perpetrator of violence, with many community and government supported programs being launched specifically targeting perpetrator prevention.

If at any stage you are in immediate danger, call the police on triple zero 000.

In your local area, you may also have access to an emergency womens shelter or other accommodation for you and dependant children that may also be at risk.

Violence against women is preventable if we all work together.