The Family Unit is Under Threat in Australia

There is a Direct Correlation Between Domestic Abuse and Your Childs Psychology “Mental Health”

Men and Women- If you are struggling to “Self-Manage” reach out, help is available.

As of today, 32 women have been murdered in domestic violence incidents in Australia. 28/04/2024

Why start a conversation? Despite adverse mental health consequences associated with domestic violence, a variety of factors may prevent survivors from talking about their situation with their health professional or reaching out for mental health care. Barriers to talking with a health professional or getting care may include fear of retaliation; distrust in the authorities and the legal system; stigma and discrimination; and feeling guilt, shame, or embarrassment. Healthcare professionals may not ask about or look for signs of potential abuse. However, if you are concerned about yourself or see signs of an abusive relationship in a friend, neighbour, or co-worker, start the conversation. Even if you or they are not ready to talk, there are resources available, and they will know that you are there for them and will be supportive if they do need help.

Both men, women, and children can suffer at the hands of others. Most men do not know they are being abused because they are “a man”; however, the title of being a man does not protect you from being abused. Speaking up does not make you weak; it is a sign of great courage. You are managing a situation that may be harming your children and yourself.

It is estimated that of all Australian adults: 11.3% (2.2 million) had experienced violence from a partner (current or previous cohabiting), and 5.9% (1.1 million) had experienced violence from a boyfriend, girlfriend, or a date.

Violence, emotional abuse, and economic abuse remain prevalent in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that one in six women, since the age of 15, had experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabiting partner. One in four had experienced emotional abuse, while one in six had experienced economic abuse.

First Nations women, as well as women from migrant and refugee communities, experience higher levels of domestic violence.

Being a victim of domestic violence is linked to an increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicide. Exposure to traumatic events can lead to stress, fear, and isolation, which may result in depression and suicidal thoughts or behavior. Survivors of domestic violence may internalise verbal abuse from their partner, blame themselves for their situation, or feel anger and resentment toward themselves. After enduring abuse, survivors may experience difficulties in new relationships.

Domestic violence survivors are more likely to experience health problems and perceive their overall health as poor compared to those who have not experienced domestic violence. About 75% of female survivors experience some form of injury related to domestic violence. In addition to injuries, common physical symptoms include headaches, insomnia, chronic pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, chest, back, and pelvic pain.

Traumatic brain injury and nonfatal strangulation (i.e., choking) are forms of intimate partner violence that often go unrecognised. Intimate partner violence can also result in unplanned pregnancies and pregnancy complications for the mother and child.

Let’s take some time to understand some of the behaviours that contribute to Domestic Abuse, Violence and Murder.

Examples of physical abuse include:

  • Being kicked, punched, pinched, slapped, dragged, scratched, choked, bitten, pushed, stabbed
  • Use or threats of use of ‘weapons’ including knives and irons
  • Being scalded, burned, or poisoned
  • Objects being thrown including food, drinks, cutlery
  • Violence against family members or pets
  • Causing you physical harm by denying access to medical aids or equipment
  • Harming you whilst performing ‘care’ duties (especially relevant for disabled victims) including force-feeding, withdrawal of medicine, or over-medication

Examples of isolation:

  • Limiting outside involvement such as family, friends, and work colleagues
  • Not allowing any activity outside the home that does not include her or him
  • Constantly checking up on your whereabouts

Examples of verbal abuse:

  • Constant yelling and shouting
  • Verbal humiliation either in private or in company
  • Constantly being laughed at and being made fun of
  • Blaming you for their own failures
  • Insults and threats
  • Mocking someone about their disability, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, etc.
  • Mocking your “sexual performance” including in front of friends, work colleagues, and on social media

Examples of threatening behaviour:

  • The threat of violence
  • The threat of use of ‘weapons’ including knives and irons
  • The threat of use of violence against family members or pets
  • Threatening to use extended family members to attack you
  • Destroying your personal and treasured items
  • Threatening to tell the police that you are the person committing the domestic abuse, committing sexual abuse including against your children
  • Threatening to remove your children, that you will never see them again or that they will take them abroad without your permission

Examples of emotional and psychological abuse:

  • Intimidation
  • Withholding affection and giving you the silent treatment
  • Turning your children and friends against you
  • Being stopped from seeing friends or relatives
  • Constantly being insulted, including in front of others
  • Repeatedly being belittled
  • Keeping you awake/stopping you sleeping – sleep deprivation
  • Excessive contact, for example, stalking
  • Using social media sites to intimidate you (such as Facebook and Twitter)
  • Wilfully stopping a parent from seeing their children by breaching court orders (Child Arrangement Orders)
  • Manipulating your anxieties or beliefs
  • Telling you that you are to blame for the abuse and injuries
  • Persuading you to doubt your sanity or mind (including “Gaslighting”)
  • Telling you, you are not the father of your children
  • Telling you, you are not a “real” father
  • Denying the abuse committed against you ever happened or trying to minimise it
  • Telling you, your bruises, cuts, and injuries are not serious
  • Accusing you falsely of having affairs and/or constantly looking at other women
  • Mocking your “sexual performance” including in front of friends, work colleagues, and on social media

Examples of power and control:

Abusers believe they have a right to control their partners by:

  • Telling you what to do and expecting obedience
  • Telling you, you will never see your children again if you leave
  • Using force to maintain power and control
  • Not accepting responsibility for the abuse – not their fault
  • Continual and purposeful breach of family court orders
  • Forced marriage

Examples of economic abuse and financial abuse:

  • Totally controlling the family income
  • Not allowing you to spend any money unless ‘permitted’
  • Making you account for every cent you spend
  • Running up huge bills such as credit/store cards in your name – including without you knowing
  • Purposely defaulting on payments
  • Setting up false companies, accounts, or credit cards
  • Deliberately forcing you to go back to the family courts as a means of costing you additional legal fees
  • Refusing to contribute to household income
  • Interfering with or preventing you from regularising your immigration status so you are economically dependent on the perpetrator
  • Preventing you from claiming welfare benefits, force someone to commit benefit fraud or misappropriating such benefits
  • Interfering with your education, training, or employment
  • Not allowing you access to a mobile phone/car/utilities
  • Damaging your property.
  • Denying you food or only allowing you to eat a particular type of food

Examples of sexual abuse:

  • Sexual harassment/pressure, or sexual acts, including with other people eg: opening up your marriage “or” our marriage is over. Your marriage is no longer good enough and neither are you.
  • Forcing sex after physical assaults
  • Sexually degrading language
  • Rape “rape is any form of sex without consent”
  • Forcing you to have sex (or commit a sexual act) against your will
  • Unwanted sexual contact and demands
  • Forced involvement into making or watching pornography
  • Deliberately being hurt during sex
  • Being pressurised or being tricked into having unsafe sex
  • Your partner telling you they are taking contraception (The Pill) when they are deliberately not

Examples of false allegations:

  • Telling the police (or threatening to) that you are the one committing the domestic abuse when it is the other way around
  • Telling friends, families, your employer, and others (or threatening to) such as sports clubs that you are the one committing the domestic abuse
  • False allegations of another ‘crime’ such as abusing children

Examples of being stalked:

Stalkers will often use multiple and differing methods to harass their victims. Stalking can consist of any type of behaviour such as:

  • Following you to and from work
  • Checking your email and phone calls
  • Regularly sending gifts
  • Making unwanted or malicious communication
  • Damaging property or clothes
  • Physical or sexual assault

Examples of digital and social media abuse (often this can be with former partners):

  • Stalking you
  • Placing false and malicious information about you on your or others’ social media
  • Being trolled
  • Having no control over your content or not allowed to have access
  • Revenge porn
  • Monitoring or controlling your email and phone calls (including work email and calls)
  • Image-based abuse – for example, the non-consensual distribution of private sexual photographs and films with the intent to cause you distress
  • Hacking into, monitoring, or controlling email accounts, social media profiles, and phone calls
  • Blocking you from using online accounts, responding in the victim’s place, or creating false online accounts;
  • Use of spyware or GPS locators on items such as phones, computers, wearable technology, cars, motorbikes, and pets
  • Hacking internet-enabled devices such as PlayStations or iPads to gain access to accounts or trace information such as your location
  • Using personal devices such as smartwatches or smart home devices (such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home Hubs, etc.) to monitor, control, or frighten you
  • Use of hidden cameras.

Types of Coercive and Controlling Behaviour:

Such behaviours might include:

  • Isolating you from friends and family
  • Depriving you of basic needs, such as food
  • Monitoring your time
  • Monitoring you via online communication tools or spyware
  • Taking control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear and when you can sleep
  • Depriving you access to support services, such as medical services
  • Repeatedly putting you down, such as saying you’re worthless
  • Humiliating, degrading or dehumanising you
  • Controlling your finances
  • Making threats or intimidating you