Sometimes it is difficult to believe in a place that is supposedly called “home sweet home” or a “place of a sanctuary” that can turn out to be a centre of violence. As we hear and know a lot through the news and advertisements, there are so many programs and campaigns that try to stop Domestic Violence around the world, however, regardless of these campaigns, the rate of abuse is still very high. In fact, there is significant number recorded incidents, reporting of about 264,028 recorded family violence incidents in Australia (“Australian police deal with domestic violence every two minutes” 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-08-24) and one in four children are exposed to Domestic Violence (

So what is a Domestic Violence all about?

Domestic Violence occurs when a family member uses abuse to have power and control over another family member – a spouse, a partner or children. Children who live in a home where there is domestic violence, either receiving direct abuse or witnessing an abuse, are also victims of Domestic Violence.

Remember, that violence occurs not because the other person provokes, but it is the choice of being violent is the issue. Alcohol and drugs may exacerbate the violence but again the violence is the core of the issue, and often people blame the alcohol and drugs rather than closely looking at the choice the perpetrator has made.

Domestic Violence also occurs regardless of cultural background, level of family income or spiritual beliefs.

Is a highly conflicting relationship classified as a Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is different from a heated domestic argument. Domestic Violence is persistent or ongoing use of one or more of the varying types of abuse resulting in chronic fear and damage to the victim. Compared to a highly conflicting relationship, it is still upsetting but is not resulting in fear or creating damage to the other person.

How would I know that I am in a Domestic Violence relationship?

Domestic Violence is not limited only in physical or sexual ways. Other types of Domestic Violence can be as subtle and sometimes it is very hard to identify it, e.g. emotional abuse.

Here are the types of Domestic Violence:

  • Physical: hitting, bruising, scratching, shaking, choking, kicking, punching, pushing/shoving, dragging, grabbing, twisting, using one’s body size or strength against another person, denying medical care, throwing objects, breaking objects, destroying objects, displaying objects as a weapon, hurting
  • Sexual: degrading jokes, humiliating comments, unwanted touching, demands for sex, punishment by the rejection of her, degrading her while having sex, coercing consent for sex, forcing unwanted sexual practices, forcing sex after a beating, using unwanted and harmful objects, causing injury during sex, rape.
  • Verbal: snide jokes/comments, put-downs, swearing, threats, shouting/yelling abuse, constant criticisms, constant haranguing, blaming, ” Women…..” Or ” Men…..” comments.
  • Emotional: crazy-making, blaming, using children to be taken away, mind games, making her feeling stupid, science – appealing to logic, making a woman appear unstable, use silence and withdrawal as a means to abuse.
  • Social: isolating from friends and family, vetting phone calls, forbidding the woman to go out, put-downs and criticism in front of friends, being a great guy to friends so they don’t
    believe the abuse, ringing up wherever she is, following her, smothering her, accounting for time, order for activities, accountability for actions.
  • Economic: gives woman all the money and expects, her to do everything, then criticises, questions and checks all financial matters, gives insufficient money for needs and expects her to do the impossible,  deprives woman of all access to money,  keeps all family assets in his name, puts woman’s name under the debts.
  • Spiritual: quotes religious books to depower woman, and keep her in a one-down position or to justify his position, uses beliefs about divorce, marriage, forgiveness and sacrifice to keep her in “woman’s role“, deprives a woman of her sense of self and identity (e. her core or soul).

How counselling can be a help

Nowadays, there are many resources to assist victims and perpetrators of abuse. However, coming forward to get some help is not always an easy step for the victim. Some of the hindrances to getting some help include shame, guilt, embarrassment, cultural issues, spiritual beliefs, etc.

Counselling can help the victim of abuse!

The goal of working with the victim involves:

  • Creating safety for the victim and the children
  • Understanding what the power and control is all about and its cycle
  • Exploring and empowering in how to break the cycle of abuse
  • Building their self-worth/self-confidence
  • Building a better future