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Domestic and family violence has a profound impact on individuals and families. We dedicate this resource to everyone who is or has been affected by domestic and family violence.

Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc. P O Box 3258 Australia Fair, QLD 4215

Support Enquiries: (07) 5532 9000 General Enquiries: (07) 5591 4222 Email:




WHAT WE DO The Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast offers FREE counselling, support, information and referral for women and their children who have or are experiencing domestic and family violence. The service is confidential but a duty of care applies and information can be subpoenaed by a court with jurisdiction.

This publication is copyright to Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc and reprinting or editing is unauthorised without permission. The Purple Book reprinted and revised September 2023.

Graphic Design by Ignite Design Gold Coast - www.ignitedesigngc.com.au

About this book

Most people in intimate relationships disagree about things from time to time and this is normal. In a healthy relationship both parties respect each other and they are able to express their different points of view or concerns. They both feel comfortable and safe discussing these together. In a relationship where power and control is being used by one partner over the other to create fear and isolation, it is a very different type of relationship and it is likely that domestic and family violence is occurring. It is helpful to know is that domestic violence, domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, and family violence can be used interchangeably when talking about domestic and family violence. If you are experiencing domestic violence, getting the right support to be safe is important. At the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre we recognise the challenges and barriers those who experience domestic and family violence may face. The service is free and confidential and provides support, information and referral. Violence against women and children is never acceptable and cannot be excused, justified or rationalised. Women and children who experience domestic violence are never to be blamed for another’s use of violent and abusive behaviours. The Purple Book contains general information that may assist you having more information and potentially making decisions about your situation, however we recommend that you seek assistance and support. A list of useful numbers and websites is included at the back of the book. We acknowledge the Queensland Government who provided the funding for the development and printing of the book. We hope you find this resource informative and useful.



Healthy relationships/Equality Wheel

4 - 5 6 - 7 8 - 9

What is domestic violence? Power and Control Wheel

Pattern of violence

10 - 11 12 - 16

Relationship where there is domestic violence

What is coercive control? Tactics of coercive control Effects of domestic violence


18 - 20


Information for Aboriginal women

22 22 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Information for women from a CALD background

Women with disability

Information for women who identify as LGBTQI+ What about women who use violence Domestic violence during pregnancy Effects of domestic violence on children Impact of domestic violence on parenting

Children’s Domestic Abuse Wheel

Child or adolescent abuse towards mother

Technology Abuse Wheel Staying safe on social media


Maintaining your privacy and safety

32 32

Safety tips for smartphones

If you have left or are thinking about leaving the Relationship

Leaving a relationship due to violence

34 35

Post separation violence

Safety planning considerations

36 - 37

Accommodation options

38 39 40

Legal protections

Service of a Protection Order Reporting a breach of the order Remaining aware of safety


46 46 47 48 49 49 49 49 50 42 42 43 44 44

Family law

Taking care emotionally Returning to the relationship

Taking care physically

If you are still in the Relationship

Deciding to stay

A plan to avoid serious injury during a violent incident

Getting support

Legal protection and child protection issues Domestic violence and couples counselling What about Anger Management Programs? Specialised Intervention Programs Can the person using violence change? Pressure from friends and family

Useful contact numbers

52 - 55


Useful websites


Section 1


In a healthy relationship power is shared and negotiated between partners, with neither partner believing they have a right to control the other person. Both parties feel comfortable, safe and treat each other with respect. Healthy relationships

Shared respon • Mutually agreeing distribution of wo • Making family de together. Economic partn • Making money dec • Making sure both p benefit from financ arrangements.


NonViolence Equality Wheel

Non-threatening behaviour Talking and acting so that she feels safe and comfortable expressing herself and doing things.

Negotiation and fairness • Seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict • Accepting change • Being willing to compromise.

Respect • Listening to her non-judgementally • Being emotionally affirming

nership cisions together partners cial

and understanding • Valuing opinions.


nsibility g on a fair ork ecisions

Trust and support • Supporting her goals in life • Respecting her right to her own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.

Honesty and accountability • Accepting responsibility for self • Acknowledging past use of violence • Admitting being wrong • Communicating openly and truthfully.

Responsible parenting • Sharing parental responsibilities • Being a positive non-violent role model for the children.

Adapted from: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN 218-722-2781


What is domestic violence? Threats and intimidation are key elements in domestic violence and are powerful ways to control and make someone feel powerless and afraid. This can include smashing things, destroying possessions, putting a fist through the wall, handling of guns, knives or other weapons, using intimidating body language (angry looks, raised voice), interrogative type questions, and/or reckless driving. It may also include harassment at the person’s workplace, persistent phone calls, following to and front work, and/ or loitering near the other person’s workplace or home. The person using threats and intimidation may also threaten to commit suicide, and/or harm or take the children. Verbal abuse is aimed at destroying the other person’s sense of self and can include screaming, swearing, shouting, put-downs, name-calling, and using sarcasm, ridiculing the other person’s beliefs, opinions or cultural background. Physical abuse can include pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, strangulation, hair- pulling, punching etc. and can involve the use of weapons including guns, knives or other objects. Emotional abuse is used with or without physical violence and is used to deliberately undermine the other person’s self-esteem and confidence, often through ‘mind games’. This can result in the person believing that they are stupid, ‘a useless or bad mother’, someone who is going crazy or is insane. Threats may include harm to the other person, to themselves, to children or others. Being silent and withdrawn, known as the ‘silent treatment’ is used as a means to abuse. Experiencing this type of abuse can be humiliating, degrading and demeaning. Social abuse is used as a way to isolate the other person from their social networks and supports either by preventing them from having contact with family or friends, or by verbally or physically abusing them in public or in front of others. They may continually put the other person’s friends and family down to try and get them to slowly disconnect from their support network and be more dependent on them. Economic abuse can result in someone being financially dependent or controlled by the other. It can include being denied access to money, including their own or demanding that they and the children live on minimal funds for what they need. It can also include being forced to sign loans and being responsible for debts that they have not incurred.


What is domestic violence? Sexual abuse includes any sexual type behaviours that the other person does not want and can mean being forced or coerced into watching pornography, having sexual contact, rape, having to perform sexual acts that cause pain or humiliation, and/ or being forced to have sex with others. This can result in physical injury to the other person’s sexual organs. Cultural and spiritual abuse can include ridiculing or putting down the beliefs and culture that are important to the other person. Like social abuse, the person using this type of abuse may prevent the other from belonging to a group or practising ways that are important to their spiritual beliefs.

Other forms of abuse may include:

Deprivation of liberty can include dictating what the other person does, who they see, what they wear, even what they read. Additionally it can include not letting the other person express their feelings or thoughts, and not allowing them any privacy. It can even involve forcing them to go without necessities such as food and water. Separation violence happens when the relationship has ended; however, the abuse and violence continues. This is known to be a high risk time for women and children. This ongoing violence may be because the person using violence perceives a loss of control and in trying to regain control, becomes more unpredictable and the violence escalates. The risk to others is increased requiring extensive safety planning. Stalking is similar to threats and intimidation and can include loitering around places the other person is known to frequent, being watched, being followed, making persistent telephone calls, emails, texts and sending mail including unwanted love letters, cards and gifts. Cyber abuse involves the use of social media, emails or technology to stalk abuse or intimidate. It might include posting pictures, videos or information about the the person without their permission. Spousal homicide is the term used to describe the murder of a person that can be directly attributed to domestic violence. Research tells us that 7 to 10 women murdered in Australia are victims of family violence (Chan and Payne 2013).


Power and Control Wheel

Domestic violence usually evolves as a pattern of behaviours that are used by a person that is for the purpose of having power and control over the other person.

The patterned behaviours used by the person are intentional, deliberate and can be overt or subtle. The power and control exerted over the other can be viewed as a breach against their human rights.

Using economic abuse • Preventing her from getting or keeping a job • Making her ask for money • Giving her an allowance • Taking her money • Not letting her know about or have access to family income. Using male privilege • Treating her like a servant • Making all the big decisions • Acting like the ‘master of the castle’ • Being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.

Power and Control is at the centre of the wheel to represent the intention of the violent and abusive behaviours used against another.

Each spoke of the wheel represents tactics that can be used by the person against the other. The rim of the wheel represents physical and sexual violence that can be used and which reinforces the other non-physical power and control behaviours.



Using coercion and threats • Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her • Threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare • Making her drop charges • Making her do illegal things.

Using intimidation • Making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures • Smashing things • Destroying her property • Abusing pets • Displaying weapons.

Using isolation • Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes • Limiting her outside involvement • Using jealousy to justify actions. Using emotional abuse • Putting her down • Making her feel bad about herself • Calling her names • Making her think she’s crazy • Playing mind games • Humiliating her • Making her feel guilty

Power and Control

Using children • Making her feel guilty about the children • Using the children to relay messages • Using visitation to harass her • Threatening to take the children away.

Minimising, denying and blaming

• Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously • Saying the abuse didn’t happen • Shifting responsibility for abusive behaviour • Saying she caused it.

Adapted from: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project Duluth, MN 218/722-4134


At DVPC our work is informed by evidence based theories and from working with thousands of women. We believe that women are our greatest teachers in this work given they are the ones who have, or are experiencing the violence and abuse. When talking with women about their experiences and asking questions so we can acknowledge and assess their risk of the person continuing to use violence against them, we find that women often don’t talk about the one behaviour or the one time the violence or abuse occurred. Rather, women tend to describe many different behaviours used, and sometimes their ability to predict a behaviour before it happens. Women are able to effectively use what they know as a way of trying to protect themselves and their children. From women’s knowledge of their experiences, a pattern of violence can be assessed and this can be very helpful for future safety planning and decision making. The following is important to note: • The pattern of violence can change and is not static i.e. violence can increase during pregnancy. • The pattern of violence is different for everyone and one pattern does not represent all patterns of violence. • The pattern of violence against the woman may be able to be identified by her, however this doesn’t place the responsibility or the blame on the woman for why this is happening. Theories can help us understand complex issues such as domestic and family violence. Pattern of violence


Logging the pattern of violence Asking yourself the following questions as a way of ‘logging’ a violent or abusive episode, can be helpful in identifying a ‘pattern of violence’ the other person uses. Your responses can also be helpful in developing a safety plan. Always remember the pattern of violence can change so this is merely a guide and context is important (i.e. separation/pregnancy/ unemployment). Actions: • How would you describe what happened? • What was happening prior to what they did to you? • What statements did they make? • What gestures did they use? • How would you describe their tone of voice? • What were their facial expressions like? Intent: • What do you think they wanted to make happen? • Did they want to stop you from doing or saying something? • Did they want to make you do or say something? Beliefs: • What do you think they believe or think that supports them to be ok with what they did to you? • What thinking gave them self permission to do what they did to you? Impact/Effect: • What is the impact of what they did to you? • What is the impact of what they did to others who were there? (i.e. children even if not in the same room) • What is the impact on the person who did this to you? • What is the impact on the relationship of what they did to you?


Relationship where there is DV

The following is a checklist of warning signals that may assist in identifying a relationship where violence and abuse is being used. It can relate to a current relationship and also relate to the behaviours of an ex-partner. If any of the following boxes are ticked, a person may be choosing to use power and control over their partner, and we encourage them to speak to a specialist domestic violence support agency to discuss further.

Emotional and psychological abuse

Does your partner call you names or make you feel bad about the way you look? Does your partner verbally degrade your self-worth by constantly putting you down? Has your partner ever humiliated you in front of friends, family or in public? Has your partner ever threatened to have you “committed” or tell others you are crazy?

Has your partner ever played mind games with you?

Physical abuse

Has your partner ever pushed, shoved, slapped, pinched, punched, or physically hurt you?

Does your partner have a history of using violence with others?

Has your partner ever attempted to strangle you or grabbed you around the throat or neck?

Has your partner ever physically harmed you while you were pregnant?

Has your partner ever stopped you from gaining access to medication/medical assistance?


Using male privilege

Does your partner always see themselves as superior or always right?

Does your partner treat you like you a possession that can be owned?

Does your partner insist on making all the big decisions?

Has your partner ever told you what to wear, read, or restricted where you can go and who you can talk to?

Does your partner monitor and control the financial matters including spending, bills, assets, loans and bank accounts?

Using coercion and threats

Does your partner use force or coercion to make you do things against your will?

Has your partner threatened to hurt the children, friends, family members or pets?

Has your partner threatened to report you to Centrelink, the Australian Taxation Office, Immigration, Corrections, Police, Child Safety, employers or others?

Has your partner ever threatened to leave you, harm themselves or commit suicide?

Has your partner ever insisted you dress more or less sexually than you want?

Has your partner ever threatened to kill you and/or your children?


Using isolation

Does your partner try to control your contact with your family and friends?

Does your partner need to know where you are constantly?

Does your partner demand that you are always at home, and only lets you out of the house if they are with you, or demands to know where you are going and exactly when you will return? Does your partner monitor or limit your phone calls, conversations and Facebook, internet access, emails? Does your partner check the mileage on the car as a way of tracking to see if they can work out where you have been or who you have seen?

Does your partner check your browser history, phone calls or messages?

Sexual abuse

Does your partner pressure you to have sex which is unpleasant, pressured or forced? Has your partner ever made you do something very humiliating or degrading? Has your partner ever made you have sex after emotional or physical abuse or when you are sick?

Has your partner ever forced you to have unprotected sex?

Has your partner ever forced you to engage in sexual practices without your consent? Has your partner ever drugged you, filmed you while having sex, shared images or uploaded sexual images of you to the internet without your consent? Has your partner ever forced you to have sex with objects, others or animals? Has your partner ever forced or coerced you into watching pornography or re-enacting scenes from pornography? Does your partner negatively compare you to women who are featured in videos or photos that are pornographic or sexually explicit?


Minimising, denying and blaming

Does your partner blame you for their anger and violence, saying it was your fault?

Does your partner say that you were ‘asking for it’ after physically hitting or abusing you?

Does your partner deny using violence afterwards?

Does your partner say the violence ‘wasn’t really that bad’?

Using intimidation

Does your partner damage or destroy your belongings or break things around the house?

Has your partner ever punched holes in the walls or doors?

Is your partner easily angered and prone to sudden mood swings?

Does your talking to others result in unfounded jealousy and suspicion that is out of proportion?

Economic abuse

Has your partner ever taken away your money or controlled how you spend it?

Has your partner ever refused to pay the household bills or to give any money towards them?

Has your partner ever threatened to withdraw financial support?

Has your partner ever prevented you from working or jeopardised your employment?


Using the children

Has your partner told you that you would lose custody or never see the children again?

Does your partner question the children to find out information about you?

Has your partner ever forced or manipulated the children into hurting you physically or emotionally?

Has your partner ever sought to destroy or undermine your relationship with your children?

Technology abuse

Has your partner ever made you, or emotionally coerced you to share or disclose your passwords?

Has your partner used technology to track or monitor your movements?

Has your partner ever posted embarrassing pictures or sent harassing or threatening messages on Facebook or other social media platforms?

Has your partner ever changed your passwords without your consent to stop you having access to accounts?

Has you partner ever stopped you from getting or sending emails to family or friends?

Has your partner ever used your profile on social media and pretended to be you?

If you are worried about the behaviour of your partner please contact a specialist domestic and family violence service to discuss your concerns.


What is coercive control? Coercive control is a pattern of domination that includes tactics to isolate, degrade, exploit and control the victims. It is a systematic strategy that involves various tactics used by the perpetrator that gradually erodes a victim’s autonomy, self-esteem, and agency, effectively trapping them in a cycle of fear and manipulation. It may or may not include physical and sexual violence. Coercive control can also be described as a system of entrapment of victim- survivors and is designed to punish, hurt or control them. Coercive control is almost always an underpinning dynamic of family and domestic violence and is one of the most dangerous forms of abuse. It is predominantly experienced by women and perpetrated by men. Impacts The impacts of coercive control are pervasive, and can be physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, cultural, social and financial. Victim-survivors commonly describe coercive control as feeling like ‘walking on eggshells’. Coercive control has also been referred to as ‘intimate terrorism’. Many victim-survivors identify it as the ‘worst part’ of domestic and family violence — more impactful and traumatic than physical violence, and more difficult to recover from. Many women say that non-physical abuse deeply impacts on their sense of self and freedom, and often continues to affect them years after separation. Coercive control inflicts harms on the dignity, liberty, autonomy and personhood of victim-survivors as well as to their physical and psychological integrity. The impact of coercive control is cumulative rather than incident specific. Coercive control tactics are typically hidden and often it is the victim-survivor who is thought ‘to have the problem’.


Tactics of coercive control

Isolation is extremely common in coercive control. Abusive partners isolate women from their family, friends, colleagues and any other social and professional supports. Isolation prevents her from making disclosures about the abuse, makes her dependent on the partner and stops her from getting help or support. It restricts her choices about life and opportunities of self-expression and autonomy. The partner’s narrative shapes how she interacts with others as well as how she sees herself. Tactics of isolation include: • Behaving badly with her family/friends/colleagues/social supports • Talking poorly about her loved ones • Turning them against her by telling lies • Starting arguments before important events such as birthdays/weddings/work events etc. • Embarrassing her in public • Punishing her in some way if she has a good time with others • Accusing her of infidelity • Denying access to a phone, money, car, medical care or essentials Threats violate a person’s right to physical and psychic security and tranquillity. Threats can have an immediate effect on a victim-survivor’s autonomy regardless of whether or not they are carried out. The intent is to let her know that if she leaves, she may be putting herself and/or her children/family/friends/pets/loved ones in danger. The idea of physical harm in the victim-survivor’s mind can have more devastating effects than actual violence. Threats can be direct or indirect in nature. Some forms of direct threats are: • threats to hurt her/children/pets/family or friends • threats to kill • threats to suicide • dangerous driving • property damage. Indirect threats can be very difficult to identify or prove as threat. They can be as subtle as a look, a particular movement, certain tone of voice and sometimes a gesture that can otherwise seem quite harmless. Most of the times she is the only one who knows the meaning of the behaviour and the threat underneath it.


Surveillance is used to deprive a person of their privacy by monitoring their behaviour, usually to gather information without their knowledge. The intent is to make her feel that the offender is unstoppable and omnipresent.

Common tactics of surveillance include • Stalking via social media, location tracking via smartphone apps, GPS devices. • Controlling aspects of everyday life, e.g. what she wears, what she eats, who see talks to, how much she spends or what she buys. • Checking the phone, personal diaries, social media, bank account statements, car odometer reading. • Using ‘checking-in’ as a way of monitoring, e.g. calling and texting repeatedly, calling workplace to check if she is there. • Insisting on going everywhere together, attending all her appointments with her, insisting on always picking her up and dropping her off. Some of these behaviours can even look like a caring gesture. • Degradation is particularly harmful as it denies self-respect to victim-survivors. Name calling and treating her like an object is a very common tactic of coercive control. It can be in the forms of insults, put-downs, targeting her looks, weight, making fun of or embarrassing her in public. • Shaming involves enforcement of a behaviour or ritual that is intrinsically humiliating or is contrary to her nature or values or best judgement. It can include forcing her to obey rules, to have sex, committing crimes, coercing her to take substances or controlling basic bodily functions such as eating, showering, using the toilet or dressing. Once a victim-survivor has done something of which she is ashamed, she is even more vulnerable to further degrading insults and threats. • Violence is often used with other coercive control tactics, to establish dominance, prevent escape, subdue conflict and suppress resources. Partner assaults involve physical violence, sexual violence, sexual coercion or frequent, low-level acts of violence. The cumulative effect can be a hostage-like state, submission and chronic fear. Jealousy and accusations of infidelity are very commonly used to justify the use of violence. Women are then forced to cut off their friendships, limit their social activities and choices to prove their loyalty, which makes them further isolated from their supports.


References Evans, S (2007), Coercive Control: How men entrap women in personal life, Oxford University Press, New York. https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-03/sb30_experiences_of_coercive_control_ among_australian_women_v2.pdf https://dfvbenchbook.aija.org.au/terminology/coercive-control/ https://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/domestic-and-family-violence-support/what-is-act- government-doing/dfv-risk-assessment/fact-sheets/information-on-coercion-and-control https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/ladocs/submissions/70479/Submission%20-%2091.pdf https://www.stopvaw.org/uploads/evan_stark_article_final_100812.pdf


Effects of domestic violence

Domestic violence can have a significant impact on your health and well-being both in the immediate and longer term, continuing even after the relationship has ended. The psychological consequences of violence can be as serious and last longer than the physical effects.

They may include, however are not limited to the following: • Physical injuries such as cuts, scrapes and bruises, fractures, dislocated bones • Hearing or vision loss • Miscarriage or early delivery • Sexually transmitted diseases • Stress related illnesses - physical and emotional • Depression • Anxiety and Fear • Suicide ideation/attempts • Sleep disturbances/nightmares • Confusion • Low self esteem • Concentration difficulties • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness • Alcohol and substance use/misuse as a way of coping • Hypervigilance/disrupted sense of reality • Difficulty making decisions/questioning own judgement

If you are concerned about your health please talk to a health professional.

There is mounting evidence that domestic violence has long term negative consequences for survivors even after the abuse has ended. (Campbell et al 2002)


Information for Aboriginal women

Information for women from a CALD background A woman from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, who has experienced domestic violence, may be feeling extremely vulnerable and isolated. The woman may also have experienced challenges and barriers in finding out about what to do or where to get help. She may also be concerned about her residency or citizenship status, and what might happen if any reports of violence are made. A specialist domestic violence service can provide support, information and referral, and may be able to assist by using a professional interpreter if consent is provided. There are a number of other agencies that have information available in languages other than English. Their contact details are in the back of this book .

Aboriginal women continue to report higher levels of physical violence during their lifetime compared to non- Aborignal women. The close-knit nature and kinship networks for the Aboriginal Community means that family violence has the potential to affect a wide circle of people. An Aboriginal woman may be concerned about shame and the impact on their family and community if they speak about or do something in response to the domestic violence. Their obligations and loyalties may make it even more difficult to leave. A specialist domestic violence service can provide confidential information and support without pressure or judgement about your choices. They can help to explore options and work out ways that may help the woman and any children to be safer. With consent, referrals or contact can be made to specific Aboriginal services. Women with disability

Women living with disability and experiencing domestic and family violence is prevalent. They may also experience barriers to accessing support or justice outcomes. Seeking support can be particularly complex for women especially when the person using violence is also their carer or support person. This can create a significant barrier and make any decision to leave a violent relationship very difficult. A specialist domestic violence service recognises and understands some of the challenges that can face a woman living with a disability who is also experiencing domestic and family violence. They can provide support in response to the domestic violence and assist by linking with disability support agencies and advocacy services with the woman’s consent.


Information for women who identify as LGBTQI+ Domestic violence experienced by women who identify as LGBTQI+ is estimated to occur at approximately the same rates as heterosexual relationships. This estimation is believed to be conservative with incidents of violence not being reported because of barriers women face such as stigma. Women may also not wish to disclose their sexual identity or seek support from systems that do not have supportive and appropriate responses for women who do not identify as straight or are able to ‘fit’ within existing gender constructs. Women who identify as LGBTQI+ and are experiencing domestic violence may be threatened by ‘outing’ as a means of control and coercion. They may also be concerned about seeking support, and fearful of their privacy and the impact on their relationships with families, workplaces and friends.

While the tactics of power and control may be similar for LGBTQI+, other forms of abuse specific to LGBTQI+ can include: Using emotional abuse: humiliating and questioning whether they are a ‘real’ lesbian or woman. Using coercion and threats and threatening to out them to family, friends and colleagues or threatening to leave, harm themselves or suicide. Denying, minimising and blaming by accusing them of mutual abuse and trying to normalise it as normal behaviour. Using privilege by defining roles or duties in the relationship and using systems against them to cut off or limit their access to resources. Using intimidation by looks and actions used to reinforce power and control. Using isolation and acting jealously about past partners and saying no-one will believe them about the violence because of their sexuality. Using children by threatening to tell the authorities or or ex-partners their sexual identity and making them feel guilty and bad about the children.


What about women who use violence

Whilst the use of violence is never condoned it is helpful to understand that the violence used by women against their male partners can take several forms. Self-defence is used when a woman exerts as much force as is reasonably necessary to defend herself against an assault in an effort to protect herself from further violence. Retaliatory violence: Women may use a number of behaviours including force, to cope, survive and resist their partner’s use of violence and coercive control. The intent is to stop the violence and protect herself, children or others. Retaliatory violence is also referred to as resistive violence or violent resistance. Women might use retaliatory violence when there is a pattern and history of ongoing perpetration of violence against them. Although she may use this type of violence, the woman is often not the person most capable of causing significant harm to the other and she often continues to fear for her safety. There are a small percentage of relationships where women use violence as a pattern of abuse using power and control against their partners. However, statistics compiled from police reports, hospital accident and emergency departments, court data, and domestic violence counselling services suggests these types of relationships are only a small minority. Similar to some women, it can be difficult for some men to reach out to seek help as they may feel ashamed or are embarrassed to talk about it.


Domestic violence during pregnancy

Unfortunately for many women, pregnancy can be the beginning or escalation of domestic violence in their relationship. Research has shown that many women experience domestic violence during pregnancy and for some women their first experience of domestic violence occurs during their pregnancy. If you are pregnant, the abuse is dangerous not only to you but also to your baby, especially if you sustain a blow to the abdomen. Studies show that intimate partner violence during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, low birth weight babies and fetal injury or even death.

Further studies also show that women who experience violence during pregnancy have an increased risk of experiencing post-natal depression.

Warning signs •

Does your partner act like he is jealous of the baby? • Does your partner threaten to take your baby when it is born? • Does your partner try to harm your baby by striking, pushing, poking or twisting your stomach? • Does your partner prevent you from seeing your doctor or obstetrician? • Does your partner question the paternity of the baby saying he is not the father? • Does your partner call you names such as ‘stupid’, ‘bitch’, ‘fat’, ‘ugly’? If you recognise any of the warning signs then you may be in a dangerous situation. You can call a specialist domestic violence service for support, counselling, and referrals to local resources.

Domestic violence is relatively common during pregnancy. (Burch and Gallop 2004)


Effects of domestic violence on children

The effects of domestic and family violence are experienced by all family members. Children who witness violence can experience the same fear, intimidation and threat to their safety that the woman experiences. Children can be witnesses to violence, experience the violence and may be co-opted into perpetrating violence. Studies show that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to: • Display aggressive and/or socially inappropriate behaviours • Have diminished self-esteem and self-worth • Have poor academic performance, problem solving skills and concentration • Show emotional distress, phobias, anxiety or depression • Have physical illness or concerns Avoid having friends over in case violence occurs • Be distrusting of adults • Feel guilt, shame and feel responsible for the violence and for stopping it • Learn inappropriate behaviours • Copy the aggressive behaviour of the perpetrator • Learn to comply, keep quiet and not express feelings • Learn to keep secrets and ‘keep up appearances’ As a consequence of the violence they may: •

Children who live with and are aware of violence in the home face many challenges and risks that can last throughout their lives. (Behind Closed Doors, Unicef 2008)


Impact of domestic violence on parenting

When domestic violence occurs in a family there can be an impact on the mother and child relationship. As a mother, her confidence in her parenting capacity and connection with her children may have been negatively affected. The way that the mother nurtures and attends to her children may have had to change in order to try and keep the woman and her children safe. The person using violence may also be actively undermining the mother and her relationship with the children. Tactics used may include: • Preventing her from attending to her baby or child when they need help or comfort • Putting her down or ridiculing her in front of the children • Co-opting the children into insults, i.e. “Tell mummy how stupid she is” • Undermining her authority by making statements like “It doesn’t matter what mummy said I am the boss in this house” • Blaming the mother for bad things happening, e.g. “It’s all mummy’s fault ….” • Telling the children that the mother doesn’t love them or care for them • Hurting the children and stopping the mother from protecting or soothing them • Bribing with gifts and treats and comparing themselves to the mother – “mummy doesn’t buy you these – only daddy takes you to fun places”, etc. Some ways to reclaim and rebuild the mother-child relationship: • Work at keeping the channels of communication open by being present and listening to the children’s concerns • Let children know that they are loved (a lot!) • Take time to do fun things as a family • Model non-violent problem solving techniques • Reinforce positive behaviours • Encourage and support children if they want to get counselling • Design a safety plan with children involved that is age appropriate.


Children’s Domestic Abuse Wheel


Isolation • Inability to develop social skills • Feeling alone and different • Can’t have friends over because of the need to hide violence • Keeping harmful ‘secrets’ • Not trusting of adults

Emotional abuse • Doubting reality • Fear of doing wrong • Inconsistent limits and expectations by caregiver • Fear of expressing feelings • Inability to learn at school – low self-esteem.

Sexual a • Shame abo • Feeling thre of their sex • Learning in talk behavio • Children ha pornograph and movies • Demanding • Crave/need • Cranky, cra Physical mental e • Children ma shame, thin • May regres of developm

Sexual stereotyping • Copying abuser’s dominant and abusive behaviour • Copying victimised passive and submissive behaviour • Unable to express feelings or who they are. Intimidation • Putting children in fear by using looks, loud actions, loud gestures, loud voice, smashing things, destroying property • Fear of physical safety.

How Violence Affects Children

Using children • Being put in the middle of fights

Threats • Learning to manipulate because of their own safety issues due to effects of violence in family • Expressing anger in a way that is violent, abusive, or not expressing anger at all because of their own fear.

• Children may take on roles, responsibilities of parents and give up being children • Children seen and not heard • Children being used to solve conflicts, asking them to take sides.

Adapted from: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project Duluth, MN 218/722-4134


Child or adolescent abuse towards mother

It is a normal part of development for adolescents to demonstrate healthy anger conflict and frustration as they move from childhood through to adulthood. Anger should not be confused with violence; violence, physical or non-physical, with the purpose of having power and control over the other person/s.

Abusive behaviour may include: •

Yelling, screaming and swearing

• Making intimidating and insulting comments • Belittling and humiliating comments or behaviour • Playing mind games such as threatening to run away or hurt themselves • Pushing, hitting, throwing objects • Breaking property • Hurting pets Some mothers feel ashamed, disappointed and upset if their child is behaving abusively and they may find it hard to disclose or share this with others. They may be fearful and feel like they are walking on eggshells. They may change their behaviour to try and avoid conflict. Some mothers also feel conflicted and are reluctant to seek support or call the police. Many mothers can feel alone, guilty and a failure as a mother. Adolescents who use abuse can appear to share many characteristics as someone who perpetrates abuse against an intimate partner. This is because the attitudes and behaviours can be cyclical in nature and become learned behaviours/ responses. In response to the violence or abuse, mothers may need to develop a safety plan to have in place in the attempt to increase their safety. Although it may be challenging to seek support, it can be harder to keep the abuse to themselves and this can leave them taking on the responsibility for the violence. Family violence can occur between siblings and across generations, parent to adult child and adult child to older parent. Many of the behavious may be similar to those used by the person who used domestic violence against them. This can include physical, emotional, psychological, social, financial and sexual abuse. Violence in any relationship is not acceptable. If you are concerned about violence and abuse in your intimate or family relationships, seek support from a specialist domestic violence service.

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Technology Abuse Wheel


Coercion and threats • Using emails, texts and social media to make threats • Posting false information on websites and blogs • Threatening to share messages or images on social media • Threatening to break your phone.

Economic abuse • Tracking or accessing bank accounts or financial records online • Using identity theft to apply for loans or credit cards • Controlling or denying access to online bank accounts • Online activities that damage your credit rating.

Isolation • Refusing you access to your technology • Closing your accounts • Replying to your messages in order to end your relationships with others • Infecting your computer with viruses to prevent you from using it. Intimidating monitoring and stalking • Changing passwords to accounts without consent or knowledge • Constantly contacting you via text or social media • Using tracking or monitoring devices to see where you are going • Using recording devices to check on your conversations • Using fake accounts to monitor you.

Minimising blaming • Telling you th for your own •Making you responsible infecting you Emotional • Putting you d on technolog • Misusing tec uncomfortab settings rem

Power and Control

Using privilege and oppression • Making all the decisions about technology • Undermining your confidence in using technology • Locking you out of your devices by changing passwords •Determining when and how you can use technology.

Using others • Getting other people to post abusive or

threatening messages to you on social media • Giving out your phone number or account details to others without your consent or knowledge.

Adapted from: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project Duluth, MN 218/722-4134


Staying safe on social media

Keeping your details and whereabouts restricted can be difficult especially if you use social media to share information or photos. To try and avoid unintended sharing of information about yourself on social media, e.g. Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, you could: • Switch off any location settings in your phone, iPad or any other device that you use to photograph, make calls or send messages. • Ensure your privacy settings are set appropriately on Facebook so that you cannot be tagged in photos without your permission and your posts shared to people you do not want. • Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know or do not know well. • Speak to people you are friends with on Facebook and tell them what you want and block people who are not willing to meet your requests. • Logout every time you access social media and do not share your passwords with anyone. Change your passwords regularly.

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Maintaining your privacy and safety

Some women who have left a relationship where they experienced domestic violence, may choose to keep their new contact details private. This may increase their sense of safety and security. If this is what you want, it is important that you explain this to all the people that you share your new details with and ask that they respect your need for privacy. You may choose to use a post office box address for your mail and on official documents. You can also apply to have your address withheld on the electoral role. Keeping your new location private and undisclosed

Safety tips for smartphones Mobile phones can be an important safety device. We suggest that women have a fully charged phone will them at all times. However, phones can also be used to track a woman’s location, to listen to conversations, and to search through text messages and emails.

Smart phones with internet capability are the most vulnerable to being used to spy and monitor. Spyware can be installed on a smart phone with relative ease and will enable another person to track calls, location, conversations, emails and browsing history. Spyware can also turn a phone into a microphone, allowing the person using violence to hear everything that is being said, even with the phone turned off. If you are concerned that your phone has spyware installed take the phone to your service provider and ask them to investigate for you. If you want to be certain that a conversation is not being recorded or overheard, you may want to remove the battery, if possible, from the phone or leave it at another location. Older mobile phones without internet capability are still available and cheap and allow the user to receive and make calls that are not able to be tracked or hacked. If you suspect that your partner is monitoring you, plan carefully so you don’t erase your entire browsing history on your computer as something maybe important. Instead, you can browse in ‘incognito’ mode, meaning that internet sites you visit will not show up on your history. You can temporarily go ‘incognito’ by pressing CTRL SHIFT N on your computer (PC) or CMD SHIFT N on an Apple. You can save or back up your files to a password-protected cloud account.

Ways that might help to stay safe:

• Lock the smartphone and do not give the PIN to anyone. • Turn off the GPS (location settings) on the phone and Facebook. • Turn off Bluetooth on the phone when not in use. • Avoid buying or using a ‘jail-broken’ phone as this phone will be more vulnerable to spyware. • Talk to close friends and family members; ask them to have their phone on standby in case of an emergency call. Women may want to have a ‘safe’ word/phrase to let them know if they’re in trouble. • Memorise useful numbers such as DFV & emergency services and family members. Remember, the phone can be damaged or stolen when domestic violence is perpetrated.


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