How you can help to stop domestic violence in our community
1 in 4 Australian women experience violence from an intimate partner.
1 woman is killed in Australia by a partner (or former partner) almost every week.
In 1 out of every 3 cases of family violence reported to police in Australia, there are children present.
These statistics are sadly just a handful of the harrowing facts regarding the state of domestic violence in Australia. An issue that affects the daily lives of so many Australians deserves our attention.
What is domestic violence?
One of the challenging things about successfully educating people about domestic violence is that it is difficult to find an agreed definition on what it includes. Particularly when technology is recreating how people interact and communicate with each other.
From a legal perspective, the Commonwealth Family Law Act 1975 outlines domestic (family) violence as:
“violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family, or causes the family member to be fearful”
In Australia, legislation varies slightly between states, however the majority of include any form of violence that occurs between:
- Partners of any gender
- Family members and relatives of any kind
- Intimate partners who may not live together.
Domestic violence can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial abuse.
How can we take action
We have a responsibility as a community to educate future generations about how to identify and speak out against domestic violence, so that this abhorrent crime is not allowed to perpetuate.
Having the ability to identify when domestic violence is occurring and also to know how to react in certain situations can set a positive example for other people.
This sends a strong message that domestic violence will not be tolerated.
As a community member, education programs within the classroom can help young people to understand what domestic violence means, and to be able to communicate about it if they see it occurring. Talk to your children’s teachers about what their school is doing to address these issues and what kind of programs can be implemented.
Make your voice heard
Don’t be afraid to speak up against jokes or conversations that make light of domestic violence issues. You can also actively support initiatives like White Ribbon Day and send the message to your friends and family that domestic violence needs our attention.
Offer support and resources
For many victims of domestic violence, knowing where to turn to and who to talk to is one of the most difficult steps.
Taking the time to know what resources are available when domestic violence may be occurring can be a great help within your community and extended network.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, there are a number of counselling and support lines you can contact for help:
- 1800RESPECT Domestic Violence Support – 1800 737 732
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Relationships Australia – 1300 364 277
In the case of an emergency situation, Police and Ambulance services can be contacted immediately on 000.
Ending domestic violence in your community starts with you. Together, we can create a future for our children where nobody has to live in fear of domestic violence.