Empower Yourself, You Deserve Better!
hitting and pushing you
forcing you to perform sexual acts against your will
stalking by following, telephoning or emailing you in a threatening way
intimidating and bullying you
threatening your children, family members or friends
preventing you from having visitors
treating you like a servant
controlling or taking your money
No one deserves to be abused. Domestic Violence is a serious crime that affects many women in Australia. If you know someone who is being abused, your support is needed. Let them know that they deserve better. If you are being abused, seek support from family, friends, doctors and community legal centres. Seek protection from the police and the legal system. You have a right to be safe. You have a right to live a life free of violence
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is behaviour that results in physical, sexual and/or psychological damage, forced social isolation, economic deprivation, or behaviour which causes the victim(s) to live in fear. It consists of the systematic abuse and control of another person in an intimate relationship rather than isolated incidents of minor aggression. Some examples include:
Facts about domestic violence
· 23% of women who have ever been married or in a defacto relationship have experienced violence in their lifetime. (ABS 1996)
· 1.1 million women experienced violence by a previous partner, which occurred during and after the relationship. (ABS 1996)
· 2.6% of women who were married or in a defacto relationship (or 111,000 women) experienced violence perpetrated by their current partner in the last 12 months. (ABS 1996)
· Police attended an average of 1,774 family violence incidents per month in Victoria, 1998/1999. They received more calls for this than for theft, robberies or other crimes. (DVIRC 2001)
How can it be stopped?
Domestic Violence can be prevented! In many cases where women have sought help from both the legal system and police, the occurrence of violence in the home has been severely reduced or has ceased altogether. Studies have shown that contacting the police and obtaining a court order is more effective than just contacting the police. A recent study of a group of women who obtained help from both the police and courts found that there was no instance of increased severity of violence and most of the group experienced substantial reductions. (AIC, Trends and Issues, 2000, No. 148)
With no intervention most offenders will continue to be violent for many years. International studies have shown that for young women, the risk of violence by a partner is 3-4 times higher than the risk for women overall. (AIC, Trends and Issues, 2000, No. 148)
Domestic violence is a crime. If found guilty, the defendant can be fined up to $24,000 or imprisoned for up to 2 years.
What to do? How can it be Stopped?
If you are being abused, seek support from family, friends, doctors and community legal centres. Seek protection from the police and the legal system.
Family and friends as "informal supporters" are the source of support most frequently accessed by women who experience abuse. They can provide moral, financial support and a safe place to go to when your partner is violent. They can also keep any evidence of assault such as torn clothing. Research indicates that victims were twice as likely to seek protection with tangible, material and social support from family and friends. Your family doctor can provide advice; support and documentary evidence for future reference should you need to go to court. Community Legal Centres provide legal information, advocacy and advice.
Police can be called for protection if you have immediate concerns for your safety or if a criminal offence is involved. They can sign an application for an intervention order. Ask them to collect evidence and arrange for photographs to be taken.
Protection orders are readily available to those who fear future violence, regardless of the nature of their relationship with the person they fear. You can obtain a protection order against a perpetrator if they have threatened to or have assaulted, harassed, molested you or caused damage to your property and are likely to repeat this behaviour. You don't have to live with your partner to seek help or to obtain a protection order.
Where to seek help?
Call the Police (dial 000)
Domestic Violence support group
Family and Friends
Men's Helpline for changing violent behaviour
Translation services (dial 131-450)
Lawmap provides a domestic violence help page with contact information that can help you.
They also provide other useful and relevant information in their Criminal, Family, Courts, Women's Legal Services, Women and the Law, Legal Aid and Community Legal Centres sections.