Family violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships.
It does not necessarily mean physical harm and can impact any member of the family, from children to elders.
Family violence covers a wide range of conduct and can be:
The drivers of family violence are complex and can change from case to case but there is a great deal of research that shows there are four main drivers. These are:
Other drivers of family violence include financial pressures, alcohol/drug abuse and social and economic exclusion. Regardless of why family violence occurs, it is important to remember that family violence is never the victim’s fault.
Gender can be a hard concept to get your head around. Gender is how men and women are socially expected to look, think and behave because of their biological sex. Gender roles and stereotypes can include beliefs that:
Gender inequality is the most common driver of family violence. Research shows that people who support rigid gender stereotypes are more likely to be perpetrators or condone violence against women.
We learn about gender roles and stereotypes from a young age. They start out as seemingly innocent assumptions but often restrict women’s participation in society.
Challenging and confronting gender roles and stereotypes promotes women’s freedom. Breaking down these rigid social structures is key to supporting gender equality and reducing family violence.
If you are experiencing family violence, or are concerned for someone, call the Safe Steps Centre. They can help explore some options, develop a safety plan and access support.
The Safe Steps phone line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
1800 015 188