The Centre for Non-Violence understands that Family Violence is:

any act or behaviour of gender based violence that occurs within the context of familial or domestic relationships and results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women (or children), including fear, threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.  Family violence most often occurs where a woman resides.

(Adapted from the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women 1993 Resolution 48/104.)


Domestic and family violence occurs in all sections of our community, across all cultures and in all types of relationships (e.g. lesbian, gay, heterosexual). Being abused is NOT a normal part of domestic and/or family life. 

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 behaviours:

  • PHYSICAL – punching, pushing, being injured with objects/weapons etc.
  • VERBAL – constant put-downs, name calling etc.
  • SEXUAL – any forced or unwanted sexual contact/activity etc.
  • SOCIAL – controlling where you go, who you see, geographically isolating you.
  • FINANCIAL – being refused/denied access to money etc.
  • DAMAGE TO PROPERTY – kicking a hole in the wall, scratching your car etc.
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL – behavior and/or comments to undermine your sense of self etc.
  • SPIRITUAL/CULTURAL – not allowing you to practise your chosen religion or cultural beliefs.
  • STALKING – worrying or frightening you by watching, phoning or following you. Stalking is a crime.

(Reproduced with permission from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria)