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Domestic violence at home

Violence or abuse at home isn’t ok. Everybody deserves to feel safe and free to be themselves.

Content Warning: this article contains violence and trauma related content that may be triggering or distressing.

Sad boy and his dog on couch, parents fighting in background

Everybody deserves to be treated with respect and dignity

Domestic violence at home creates a climate of fear and tension

  • Domestic violence – also known as family violence – isn’t about somebody being unable to control their anger. It’s about abusers believing they are entitled to have power and control over others.
  • Some forms of family violence – stalking, threats, sexual and physical abuse – are a crime.
  • The behaviour of the abuser can make it very hard for family members to leave.
  • Once family violence begins, it may get worse over time.

Types of violence

Here are some examples of how abusers control their partners:

Controlling the family finances

Isolating their partner from others

Verbal abuse and put downs

Threatening or hurting pets

Emotional abuse and humiliation

‘Gaslighting’ and manipulation

Threats and intimidation

Physical or sexual abuse

Accusations and starting arguments

Use of weapons or objects thrown

The cycle of violence

The cycle of violence

There are six stages in the cycle of violence as set out by Lenore Walker.

These stages may not be the same for everyone. But this model can help you understand how the violent behaviour occurs.

  1. The build-up phase – Relationship becomes tense and the abuser increases verbal, emotional or financial abuse
  2. The stand over phase – Described as ‘walking on eggshells’ and fear that anything might set off the abuser
  3. Explosion – The peak of the cycle where the abuser uses violence to control the other person and tension is released
  4. The remorse phase – The abuser may feel ashamed and withdraw from the other person or try to justify their actions
  5. The pursuit phase – Abuser promises to change or makes up for their behaviour eg. giving gifts, increased affection and attention
  6. The honeymoon phase – Denial over how bad the abuse/violence is and ignoring the likelihood of it happening again

Experiencing domestic violence at home

While everybody responds differently, here are some things you might be feeling or thinking if there’s violence or abuse at home:

Feeling somehow to blame for the family’s problems
Guilt over not being able to stop the violence
Flashbacks to episodes of violence
Feeling unable to talk to anyone outside of the immediate family
Wanting things to change but not knowing how to help
Worry that if you get help you could get into trouble
Worry that if you get help it could break up your family
Feeling that you need to take care of other family members

If there is an emergency or you’re in need of immediate help call 000 (if you’re in Australia)

Having supportive people outside the situation can make a difference

If there’s violence or abuse at home then it’s important to find people that you can trust to talk to.

These people might include:

  • A Kids Helpline counsellor
  • An older relative or friend
  • A trusted teacher or school counsellor

More information

To read more about domestic violence try these resources:

We're always here if you ever need advice or just need someone to talk to. You can give us a call, start a WebChat or email us today.

This content was last reviewed 21/06/2018

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