of Domestic Violence
The Following Links
are bookmarked further down the page
What is domestic and family violence
The Cycle of Violence
The Impact of Domestic Violence on Women
Where to go for help
What is a Women’s Refuge/Shelter?
If you have experienced violence and abuse from your ex partner you are not
At least 23% of women in Australia have experienced domestic or family violence,
and as the latest Australian Bureau of statistics figures point out, this
accounts for around 2.2 million women.
Survivors of violence and abuse begin recovery when they are in a safe and
secure setting, their rights to safety are recognised and there is an absence of
It is widely recognised that women experience domestic violence at far greater
rates than men do, and women and children often live in fear as a result of the
abuse that is used by men to maintain control over their partners.
Domestic and family violence occurs in all sections of our community and across
all cultures. Being abused is NOT a normal part of domestic and/or family life.
Domestic violence is often not recognized by others, particularly if it is the
more subtle psychological and emotional abuse. A Woman herself may not recognize
that what is happening is domestic violence.
Domestic and family violence occurs when someone in an intimate or familial
relationship attempts to gain and/or maintain power and control over another
through a wide range of abusive behaviors:
A single act may amount to abuse. A number of acts that form part of a pattern
of behaviours may amount to abuse, even though some or all of those acts, when
viewed in isolation, may appear to be minor or trivial.
Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a
relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married;
heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.
Abuse can be difficult to identify, because an abusive person doesn't always act
this way. Sometimes they may be loving and kind. But if you often feel afraid of
upsetting your partner, and change what you do to avoid their anger, then this
is a sign that you are being abused.
All forms of abuse - psychological, economic, emotional and physical - come from
the abuser’s desire for power and control.
This list can help you to recognise if you, or someone you know, are in an
• Behavior and/or comments to undermine your sense of self
• name-calling or putdowns,
• sulking; threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car
• lying to your friends and family about you; telling you that you have no
choice in any decisions.
• commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless
you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children;
• constant put-downs,
• name calling,
• making harassing or threatening phone calls.
• Says things to scare you (e.g., told you something "bad" would happen;
threatened to commit suicide).
• Used the children to threaten you (e.g., told you that you would lose custody;
said he would leave town with the children).
• Actual or threatened physical harm e.g. Injured you by causing bruises, cuts,
broken bones, punching, pushing, choking, being threatened or injured with
• Making threats to hurt you and/or your children,
• denial of sleep, warmth or nutrition;
• denial of needed medical care,
• Driving recklessly while you and/or your children were in the car etc.
• Controlling where you go, who you see, what you wear.
• Keeping you from contacting family or friends.
• Preventing someone from leaving the house.
• Preventing someone from going to a place of worship or praying
• Making all the ‘big’ decisions,
• checks up on you (e.g., listened to your phone calls, checked the mileage on
the car, called you repeatedly at work).
• Refused to do housework or child care,
• making you feel guilty about going to work or socialising,
• constantly checking up on your whereabouts etc
• any forced or unwanted sexual contact/activity,
• Pressured you to have sex when you didn't want to (will not take no for an
• forcing you to have sex or to do sexual acts you do not want or like,
• raping you.
Forcing you to have sex is a criminal offence, even if you are married.
• When your partner takes control of your financial affairs when you don't want
him to, or
• prevents you from having access to money.
• Stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job,
• refusing to give someone enough money to live on.
• kicking a hole in the wall,
• scratching your car,
• taking away or breaking things that are important to the abused person,
• Abusing a family pet.
Stalking is behaviour intended to harass, intimidate and torment another person.
Stalking includes a range of behaviours such as:
• Repeated phone calls
• Sending letters, faxes or e-mails
• Loitering near a Woman’s residence or place of work
• Spying on or openly watching a Woman
• Following a Woman
• Harming pets
• Organizing unwanted home deliveries
• Sending flowers or chocolates
• Damaging property
• Moving belongings around
• Changing details on personal identification.
The cycle of violence is a cyclic pattern that is common to many men who are
abusive in their relationships, and has definite stages that are easily
recognizable. When the man identifies these stages, it is often the beginning of
the stages by which the man starts to understand his abusive behaviour and
violent behaviour and begins to take responsibility for his actions. Recognition
of this cycle by the Woman can also be the time that she begins to understand
that his behaviour follows a definite cycle that is not and cannot be influenced
by anything she may do.
Each of the stages has unpredictable lengths of time, with many variations in
time and frequency.
Stage One : Build up
The man experiences a build up of tension, is preoccupied by his own view of the
world, has an exaggerated sense of entitlement, avoids social and emotional
circumstances, relies on others to meet his every need, blames others and
circumstances, is full of righteous indignation with beliefs about how the world
should, ought and must be, engages in self intoxicating thoughts and beliefs.
This stage escalates regardless of external circumstances, and is independent of
his partner’s behaviour.
Stage Two : Explosion
This is the most dangerous stage and can involve criminal assault, terrorizing,
verbal abuse, serious threats and property damage. The man feels enraged and
believes he is out of control; the episode can be brief or escalate over hours.
Most men describe this stage as being out of his control; however, the violence
is often in a context that has strong elements of choice and control. When the
abusive and/or violent episode is closely examined the man is likely to
recognize that it takes place usually within the home and has in fact been
controlled, evidenced sometimes, by the parts of his partner’s body that he
Stage Three : Regret and
At this stage in the cycle the man experiences and expresses feelings of
remorse, helplessness or guilt, whilst often at the same time blaming his
partner or circumstances as he looks for why this happened and who is at fault,
he generally accepts no responsibility for his own behaviour.
The man believes and tries to persuade his partner that the abuse will never
happen again. He may blame his partner for his abusive behaviour. He will often
make promises about change that are conditional on his partners change, and
promises of change that are unlikely to be carried out. The man may attempt to
seek forgiveness form his partner and to offer explanations, e.g. ‘I lost
control and did not know what I was doing’ that demonstrate he is not accepting
responsibility for his behaviour. He may attempt to show his sincerity and
caring by buying gifts, taking the family on outings, being helpful in the
house, or being more attentive.
The man has resolved nothing by his remorse. His language and behaviour seem so
unrelated to his violent behaviour that it is confusing for his partner. She
wants to believe that he has changed. The Woman may try to cover her distress
and fear, accept his promises and forgive him in the hope that things will
improve. Characteristically after a short time the man begins his own
self-defeating thought processes and engages in tactics of abuse to maintain
control moving back into build up stage and the escalation of his behaviour.
Things he may try to get you back
Some women leave their partner during the cycle of violence. It is possible to
anticipate the way the man is likely to respond. Although the behaviours
described may appear genuine, they are manipulative and intended to blame,
obligate or frighten the Woman into doing what the man wants. This is a time of
danger for women and also can be a time of confusion, as many women want to
believe his promises of change.
The man may respond to his partner leaving him, in one of three distinct sets of
behaviours. It is possible for the man to engage in all three forms, it is also
possible during one conversation for him to move through each pursuit. The main
objective of his pursuit is to have others do something to reduce his own sense
of desperation immediately. His behaviour at this time is part of the pattern of
violence and not a move out of his cycle of violence.
This is recognized by the man buying gifts, making promises, declarations of
love, extensive apologies and attempts to show he is a ‘changed man’. He may
make promises to attend counselling or do anything to add credibility to his
claims of having changed.
Buy back relies on creating a sense of goodwill, guilt and hope in his partner.
The man may threaten his partner with harm or threats to kill her and/or her
children. Constantly harassing, stalking, creating problems with family and
friends, trash her belongings, create difficulties in regards to Family Court
The man behaves in ways that indicate to his partner that he is unable to manage
without her, will let her know he is unable to eat, sleep, go to work, may be
will have an illness and make explicit or implicit threats of suicide.
Helplessness relies on the Woman feeling obligated for his well-being, and guilt
for his hurt.
(This is adapted by Dallas Colley from the DVAG Workshop Manual, 1992)
When a Woman is constantly abused and put down she may start to think of herself
as worthless. Many women feel powerless. Many women stay in abusive
relationships because they are too afraid to leave. If a Woman does decide to
separate, it is not unusual for her to return to her abusive partner,
particularly when appropriate support and assistance is not available.
Domestic violence can have long-term effects on a Woman. There may be emotional
problems such as difficulty in trusting others. She may also suffer long-term
effects on her health from physical injuries.
Not all the long-term effects are negative. Often a Woman dealing with domestic
violence has developed incredible strengths in order to survive. To come out and
move in to a new life living through years of violence is usually an extremely
How women may be feeling?
All forms of abuse have damaging consequences.
Some of the ways that you may have been feeling include:
• Feeling worthless and lacking self confidence,
• Ashamed and afraid of letting others know about the abuse
• Feel that you are to blame for the abuse
• Hopeless and sad because you have tried everything
• Depressed and lonely
• Afraid of what he might do if you leave or seek help
• Afraid that no-one will believe you
• Scared of coping on our own
Remember, you're not to blame for the abuse. You have a right to feel safe and
to live a life free from intimidation. See
If you are in immediate danger or if you have been physically or sexually
assaulted, threatened or stalked you can call the police on 000.
If you need to stay somewhere safe contact the Domestic Violence Crisis Service,
See emergency contacts
to find out about women’s refuges.
If you need legal protection from further violence you can apply for a
protection order .
Who can I talk to?
Family and friends can be supportive but sometimes they don’t understand the
seriousness of abuse. It is often helpful to seek counselling. If you have any concerns about
being abused contact your local Domestic Violence Service link to state
resources page or a community health service/women’s community health who may
be able to provide support and counselling.
A Women’s Refuge/Shelter is like a big family home or cluster of units. A refuge
offers support, information and safe accommodation for women, with or without
Who can go to a Women’s Refuge/Shelter?
Any single women or Woman and her children who are being abused by their partner
and/or family members.
This abuse can be:
• Continual insults or threats, hitting, slapping, punching, pushing, breaking
bones or shoving.
• Threats to children or pets.
• Threats of or actual destruction of property.
• Forced or unwanted sex.
• Denying you friends or outings.
• Not giving you enough money, forcing you to give up your money, or having to
account for every cent you spend.
• Making you afraid at home.
What do Refuges/Shelters offer?
During your stay at a Women’s Refuge/Shelter, from a couple of days up to a few
months, you should be assured of these services:
• A safe, secure place to stay
• Refuge staff are available to provide information, give support, act as
advocated and offer referrals
• Help to get to the Refuge if you need it
• Arrangements for your belongings to be picked up
• Linen, bedding, cooking and washing facilities
• Information and help in getting legal advice, housing, access to an income,
moving and storing furniture, access to Commonwealth and State entitlements
(e.g. Centrelink), and community resources.
Refuges/Shelter workers attend to the current crisis facing the Woman and her
children. They also work in a preventative way to reduce, or eliminate, the risk
of future crises.
From Women’s Refuge group WA