Family and domestic violence is a serious social issue in Australia. The Salvation Army is dedicated to providing support to survivors of violence and their children through a variety of emergency responses such as refuge accommodation, and long-term support.
The majority of victims of family and domestic violence are women however, men can also be victims of violence at home. Domestic violence is the single largest cause of women and children becoming homeless. The Salvation Army directs resources to ensure that women and children have the support they need to leave a violent home environment.
Nationally, the salvos help more than 2,000 women escaping domestic violence, as well as additional numbers of women and children at risk, through specific women's programs and family/domestic violence services each year.
In recent years our work has focused on providing refuge shelter for women escaping domestic violence.
Refuges operated by The Salvation Army are open to all women escaping domestic violence who are in need of safe accommodation and personal support.
Our women's refuges generally are prepared to take women with additional difficulties such as those with a psychiatric disability or with drug and alcohol related problems.
Over recent years an increasing number of women awaiting refugee status are seeking accommodation in these shelters as they have no income and lack access to accommodation within the community.
In common with a number of other women's refuges, The Salvation Army provides child care facilities within these services to ensure that both children and their mothers are able to be adequately assisted.
What is Domestic Violence
- Physical abuse: pushing, hitting, kicking, choking, hair-pulling, using/threatening to use weapons
- Sexual abuse: unwanted sexual acts (rape), pressure to watch or participate in pornography
- Verbal/Emotional abuse: name-calling, insults, threats, belittling, mind games
- Psychological abuse: causing you to feel crazy or saying you have mental problems
- Financial abuse: withholding or controlling finances, providing an inadequate 'allowance', gambling with your joint money, stealing from you.
- Social abuse: isolating from family, friends and other supports, preventing you from going out, monitoring your movements
- Harassment/Intimidation: bullying, threatening looks, words and gestures, accusations of false affairs
- Stalking: being followed, watched, monitored directly and/or indirectly through friends or mail.
- Damaging property: smashing only your possessions
- Spiritual and cultural abuse: criticising and stopping spiritual or cultural beliefs and practices
- IT: Texting, emailing or messaging to harass, intimidate and abuse
Cycle of Violence
Most perpetrators experience domestic violence as part of a cycle with different stages:
The perpetrator's behaviour escalates from controlling and abusive to increasingly threatening and violent as tension increases. The woman may feel like she is walking on eggshells.
The most dangerous part of the cycle. It can involve serious threats, physical and verbal assault, damaging property. Some men cite - loss of control - as an excuse for violence.
After the violence the perpetrator often feels guilt, shame or remorse. Some will deny and play down their actions, or blame their partner or other factors.
The perpetrator may use charm or seduction, buy gifts or make more threats to get his partner back with promises to change.
There may be a period of calm when things appear as if they have changed, but as pressure builds within the perpetrator for various reasons - thought patterns, work or family pressures - the cycle continues.