Some relationships involve behaviour that is very damaging to the other partner and, in some cases, may be criminal.

Any good relationship should be based on equality and respect between partners.

When one partner uses tactics to control the other partner, it can be very damaging. This control or power imbalance can take many forms, including threats, 'stalking' behaviour, and physical abuse.

This usually results in one partner being scared of another, leaving them unable to feel safe in the relationship.

Domestic violence is a problem in many households.

What sort of things can be called domestic violence?

  • Physical Assault - kicking, slapping, choking or using weapons against the victim. All threats of physical violence should be taken seriously.
  • Sexual Assault - any non-consenting (not fully agreed to by both partners) sexual act or behaviour, any unwanted or disrespectful sexual touch, rape (with or without threats of other violence), forced compliance in sexual acts, indecent assaults, and forced viewing of pornography.
  • Using coercion and threats
  • Telling your partner you will do something to hurt them, the children, pets or property if your partner does not do what you want, or does something you do not want them to do. Hurting the other's feelings by saying mean things and name-calling.
  • Using intimidation, making your partner afraid by using looks, actions, gestures.
  • Using children, such as by making your partner feel guilty about the children. Threatening to take the children away, to report your partner to Child Protection authorities. Using visitation to harass your partner, using the children to relay messages
  • Using isolation - controlling what your partner does, who your partner sees and talks to, what she or he reads and where they go. Smothering.
  • Psychological/Emotional/Verbal Abuse - using words and other strategies to insult, threaten, degrade, abuse or denigrate the victim. This can include threats to the victim's children.
  • Social Abuse - social isolation imposed upon a partner, such as stopping your partner from seeing their family and friends. This may include enforced geographic isolation.
  • Economic Abuse - controlling and withholding access to family resources such as money and property.

If you are in trouble seek help as soon as possible. You do not have to put up with domestic violence.

Relationships Australia offers Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Services including:

  • Individual, couple and family counselling, and support.
  • Groups for people who have been violated or abused.
  • Groups for people who have committed violence or abuse.

Call 1300 364 277 for more information or assistance.