New to Family Violence
Understanding Family Violence
Family violence – also known as domestic violence or abuse – is any abusive behaviour that is used to control someone in a family, family-like or intimate relationship, and makes that person afraid for their safety and well-being or the safety of another person. If a child witnesses abusive behaviour or is exposed to the impacts of this, they are a victim of family violence in their own right.
For information on understanding what Family Violence is, the impacts it has, the different forms it takes, and more, go to Safe+Equal’s web page on Understanding Family ViolenceThe Judicial College of Victoria also has further information on power and control, and coercive control on their page Understanding Family Violence
To identify Family Violence, go to Safe+Equal’s web page on Identifying, assessing and managing Risk
You can also refer to the legal definition of Family Violence as per the Family Violence Protection Act (2008) Section 5
- Family Violence is also called “domestic violence”, “domestic abuse” or “intimate partner violence” though they are actually different types of Family Violence and not necessarily synonymous
- Family Violence s a pattern of behaviour in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner
- Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person
- Family Violence includes any behaviours that frighten, intimidate, terrorise, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone
- Family Violence can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating
- Family Violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels
- Anyone can be a victim of family violence, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith or class
- Victims of family abuse may also include a child or other relative, or any other household member
- Incidents are rarely isolated, and usually escalate in frequency and severity
- Family Violence may culminate in serious physical injury or death
Safe+Equal is the peak body in Victoria for specialist family violence services supporting victim survivors.
Safe Steps is Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response centre, providing specialist support services for anyone in Victoria who is experiencing or afraid of family violence.
No to Violence works with men who use family violence, and the sector that supports them to change their abusive and violent behaviour.
As a practitioner, find out what you need to know about identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk within Victoria’s Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework
Check with your organisation to see whether they are prescribed under MARAM and, if so, what your responsibilities are. You can read more about the MARAM on our website
Everyone working in the service system, regardless of their role, needs to have a shared understanding of family violence and the behaviour of an adult who uses Family Violence, including its drivers, presentation, prevalence and impacts. This enables a consistent approach to risk assessment and management across the service system and helps keep adults who uses Family Violence in view and accountable and victim survivors safe.
MARAM Pillar 1: Shared understanding of family violence
Preventing and responding to family violence is the collective responsibility of a wide variety of professionals. Family Violence Foundations is a key starting point for everyone who has a role to play. Safe+Equal’s free online learning package will provide you with foundational knowledge about preventing and responding to family violence and violence against women.
Family violence is a community issue. We can all keep an eye out for the signs, speak up, and offer our support. With the right approach, your support can make a real difference. Safe+Equal’s new Are You Safe at Home? video series aims to raise awareness of family violence and build the skills and confidence of family, friends, and colleagues to respond.
Help raise awareness across our community by watching and sharing the videos here. The videos are available in 15 community languages. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, visit areyousafeathome.org.au for information about the signs to look out for and ways to access support.
Guide to uplifting workplace responses to domestic, family and sexualised violence from Insight Exchange
If you or someone you know needs help, there is a wide range of family violence support services available. If someone is in immediate danger, call triple zero (000) and ask for police.
Are you Safe at Home – Understanding family violence and supports available
The Orange Door – A free service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence and families who need extra support with the care, wellbeing and development of children.
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