What is domestic violence – violent or aggressive behaviour occurs within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or intimate partner.

What is family violence – someone who has a close personal relationship with you harms you, controls you or makes you feel afraid.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000 immediately

A wide range of abusive behaviours can be adopted by perpetrators of domestic and family violence and include but are not limited to:-

Physical abuse Can be direct assaults on the body, punching, pushing, causing or threatening personal injury using objects or weapons; assault on children, being denied access to your home, deprivation of sleep or food.
Verbal abuse Constant put-downs, ridicule, name calling, humiliation in public or in private, focus of insults around sexuality, body image, intelligence or parenting skills
Social abuse Systematically controlling who you see, who you speak to or receive phone calls, messages or email from, where you go; even where you live so that you become socially or geographically isolated from other people.
Financial abuse Refusing you access to money or providing an inadequate allowance; especially where the money is legally due to you whether via welfare entitlements or your own wages or preventing you from seeking or holding down a job
Damage to personal property Using physical strength or violence to intimidate you by causing or threatening to cause damage to your property or valuables, e.g. kicking walls, throwing things, pulling a door off hinges or damaging your furniture, car or personal belongings
Psychological/ Emotional abuse Behaviour and / or comments and taunts to undermine your sense of self, your personal security or which are likely to impose a sense of vulnerability around your personal safety or mental health and wellbeing. E.g. driving dangerously, threatening or causing, injury to pets, making threats about custody of children or asserting that the no one including the courts would believe your story
Spiritual/Cultural Not allowing you to practise your chosen religion or cultural beliefs, or misusing religious or spiritual traditions to justify physical or other abuse towards you
Stalking Constantly worrying or frightening you by following you, watching you, phoning or messaging you and waiting outside your home or workplace
Sexual abuse ANY forced or unwanted sexual contact or activity.


Women Assist Counselling is not a crisis service, so if you need immediate counselling you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line which is a free and confidential telephone and online service for any Australian experiencing, or who has experienced, domestic or family violence and/or sexual assault. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, phone: 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732