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Learn more about domestic violence

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Everyone deserves the right to be free from domestic violence

Freedom from violence is a human right.

Family and domestic violence is a continued pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour towards a partner or family member. This is an ongoing crisis within Australia that seriously threatens the health, wellbeing and lives of thousands of women and children on a daily basis.

Responding to family and domestic violence

It is not always easy to recognise if you or someone you know is experiencing family violence or is in an abusive relationship.

The behaviours listed below are typical of the jealousy, possessiveness, put downs, threats and violence that occur in family violence and abusive relationships. 

A person may be experiencing abuse if anybody in their life:

  • Unfairly and regularly accuses them of flirting or being unfaithful 
  • Controls how they spend money 
  • Decides what they wear or eat 
  • Humiliates them in front of other people 
  • Monitors what they are doing, including reading their emails and text messages 
  • Discourages or prevents them from seeing friends and family 
  • Threatens to hurt them, the children or pets 
  • Physically assaults them (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing) 
  • Yells at them 
  • Threatens to use a weapon against them 
  • Constantly compares them with other people 
  • Constantly criticises their intelligence, mental health and appearance 
  • Prevents them from practicing their religion

Family and domestic violence in Australia

family and domestic violence infographic highlighting the issue in Australia

How to support people experiencing family violence

  • Find a safe place and allow time for the person to talk 
  • Listen to what they have to say and believe them – their description of the abuse is only the tip of the iceberg 
  • Give priority to their immediate safety 
  • Empower them to make their own decisions 
  • Support and respect their choices – even if they choose initially to return to the abuser
  • If children experience family violence their safety must come first 
  • Give them information about relevant support agencies and if appropriate, offer to contact the agency for them 
  • Consult with people who are properly trained in the matter
  • Reassure them that this is not their fault, they don’t deserve this treatment, and it is not God’s will for them 
  • Let them know that what the abuser has done is wrong and completely unacceptable 
  • Love and support them 
  • Be patient 
  • Protect their privacy

To find family and domestic violence services in your state or for more information on how to find safety visit our Find help now page.

It takes all of us to stop the violence.

There is no excuse for committing violence against a partner or family member.

While family and domestic violence can happen to anyone, the overwhelming majority of those affected are women at the hands of men. If you know of someone who is exhibiting controlling or abusive behaviour to you or someone else and you want it to stop, The Salvation Army has a range of specialised men’s programs that may be able to help. 

The Salvation Army can help

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“In recent times, we have been very privileged to journey with many in our community who are in the process of leaving or who have left family violence. They are incredibly courageous – warriors (although they would never say that of themselves) – who are fighting to build a life for themselves and their children amidst extreme hardship and often isolation.” – Salvation Army officers, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria. 

Each year The Salvation Army in Australia assists more than 7000 women and children experiencing family violence. We also provide services that challenge men to take responsibility for their actions through men’s family violence prevention and behaviour change programs.

We work with services such as the police, financial counsellors and courts to offer individualised support to women and their children, addressing particular risks while planning a course of action. 

We are committed to listening to the expert knowledge of those with lived experience and working with them to design family violence services that understand and meet the needs of our clients.

Our specialist family and domestic violence workers are trauma informed, child safe, sensitive and compassionate. We support women and children to recover from the impacts of family violence. 

Our nation-wide services include:

  • 15 refuges 
  • Children and parenting programs
  • Men’s behaviour change programs
  • Orange Door and intake services
  • Counselling
  • Specialist children's workers
  • Crisis, emergency, transitional and long-term housing
  • Security and safety upgrade programs
  • Family violence packages
  • Referrals to specialist services
  • Safe house for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery 

Find out how The Salvation Army can help provide safety and support in your local area on our Find help now page.

The Salvation Army acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.

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