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What is domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence is more than just physical violence.

It is when one person in a relationship uses violence or abuse to maintain power and control over another person. It causes the person being abused to live in fear.

Abuse is not always physical — it can be emotional, verbal, sexual and financial, or involve threats and controlling behaviours. All forms of violence and abuse should be taken seriously.

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Who is affected

Domestic and family violence occurs among people of all ages, education, cultural and racial groups, sexuality and socioeconomic status. It can occur between people in spousal, intimate personal, family or informal care relationships.

“While men can be victims, the majority of people who experience this kind of violence are women. In Australia, 1 in 6 women has experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a current or former partner and 1 in 19 men has experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a current or former partner (Personal Safety Survey, 2012).”

Given how prevalent it is, it’s likely most people know someone — either in their community, sporting club, school or workplace — who has experienced abuse.

Why get involved

While most people will say they don’t condone domestic and family violence or other forms of violence, as long as we continue to excuse or minimise abuse, turn a blind eye or believe the victim is to blame, it will continue.

We can all play a role in changing the culture and attitudes that underpin domestic and family violence in our community.

Where to find information

If you are in a domestic and family violence situation and need help, find out where you can get information:

Useful websites


  • In an emergency call the police on Triple Zero (000)
  • DVConnect Womensline – phone 1800 811 811 (24 hours, 7 days)
  • DVConnect Mensline – phone 1800 600 636 (9am to 12 midnight, 7 days)
  • 1800 RESPECT – phone 1800 737 732 (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Kids Helpline – phone 1800 551 800 (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Elder Abuse Helpline – Queensland phone 1300 651 192, rest of Australia phone (07) 3867 2525 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • State-wide Sexual Assault Helpline – phone 1800 010 120 (7.30am to 11.30pm, 7 days)