Domestic and family violence (DFV) is behaviour that is threatening, abusive, violent, coercive or controlling; causing a person to live in fear and to be made to do things against their will. It can be perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner, a family member, other member of the household, or member of the extended family or kinship group.

It can be hard to tell if someone is experiencing domestic and family violence; they may not want you to know, or it may not be safe to talk with you.

DFV is often a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviours that could include:

  • Emotional or psychological abuse such as verbal abuse, threats of violence, isolation, and undermining the victim’s sense of reality.
  • Physical violence such as physical assault, non-fatal strangulation, and damage or harm to person, pets and property.
  • Economic abuse such as denying a person reasonable financial autonomy or financial support - or accruing debt in their name.
  • Sexualised violence such as sexualised assault and other abusive or coercive behaviour of a sexualised nature.
  • Reproductive coercion or abuse. When a person is stopped from making their own choices about reproduction.
  • Stalking and intimidation such as surveillance and harassment.
  • Technology facilitated abuse whereby a perpetrator uses electronic devices and online services to monitor, control, threaten, harass or abuse a person.
  • Systems abuse. Using services and systems to harm and control victims and/or incur costs.
  • Spiritual or religious abuse in which spiritual or religious beliefs are used to scare, hurt or control a person.

Source: Insight Exchange (DVSM)

24/7 counselling service for domestic, family and sexual violence. Read 'Follow My Lead' - a resource for anyone responding to someone experiencing DFV. Read more about technology-facilitated abuse and how to increase online safety.