Domestic violence is at a disturbingly high level in Australia. Acts of violence between two people who have an intimate domestic relationship occur frequently. For instance, one woman every week is murdered by a current partner, or someone who she was previously in a relationship with. There are different forms of domestic abuse including, physical, psychological and sexual. Although most people who suffer domestic violence are female there are also many incidents where males are abused, either physically or emotionally.
Firms that specialise in family law, such as ACFL, are used to witnessing the potential fallout from domestic abuse cases. The aftermath of this type of abuse can have long lasting effects, such as mental health problems and housing issues, if a couple can do longer reside at the same address.
What does domestic violence involve?
The range of domestic violence that occurs is large. It can include:
- Blame for everything that goes wrong in a relationship. This can significantly reduce the self-esteem of an individual.
- Humiliation in public by the use of swearing and demeaning language.
- Isolation from friends and family meaning that sufferers have no support available.
- Control of all the household finances, meaning that the sufferer cannot spend any money without first seeking permission.
- Threatening behaviour.
- Physical assaults.
- Sexual assaults.
Often, different forms of abuse are combined making the situation frightening and extremely dangerous.
How common is domestic abuse in Australia?
Unfortunately, domestic abuse is very common in Australia. Take a look at statistics quoted by White Ribbon, and you can see facts such as;
- A quarter of women have experienced some form of emotional abuse by a partner, or ex-partner.
- Around 40% of women continue to be subjected to assaults after they have separated from a violent partner.
- Violence carried out by a partner is a leading cause of illness and early death for women in the age range 18-44.
It’s interesting that domestic abuse can affect anyone, no matter what ethnic origin, wealth levels and social situation they have. However, it tends to more prevalent when factors such as poverty, lack of education and substance abuse are present. Witnessing abuse as a child can also contribute to the chances of being an offender or a victim.
Movements for change
There are dedicated movements for change in Australia, such as Let’s Change the Story. Their aim is to change social beliefs which traditionally place males in a position of power. Even today, males have dominance in society. They tend to earn more and have more chance of gaining promotion at work. They also often have control of the money that goes into the household. Obviously, in many relationships couples are on an even footing; but, all too often, this is not the case. Anti-domestic abuse movements promote equality as a means of moving away from the abuse epidemic.
Their work has not achieved major success as yet, but important changes in social attitudes always take a considerable length of time to teach, and to take effect.