Resources for people experiencing domestic abuseSep 10, 2020 10:35:48 AM
The events of 2020 have forced many of us into closer proximity with our partners. Self-isolation, working from home and reduced opportunities to go out have all led to a more hermit-like existence. For some, this has meant being isolated with their abuser.
Reports suggest nearly 10% of Australia women in relationships have experienced some form of domestic violence since the beginning of the pandemic, a horrifying statistic. Women who have not experienced domestic violence before have been impacted for the first time, while previous sufferers have reported an increase in severity and frequency of their partners’ abuse.
While it can feel like you have to suffer alone, especially in the current climate, it’s important to know there are resources available for you.
Different types of domestic abuse
Although we often think of domestic abuse to mean physical violence, that’s only one way someone might be victimised. Different forms of domestic violence include:
- Cultural or religious abuse: not all partners share a religion or culture, which is okay, but if someone prevents you practising what you believe then that could be considered abuse.
- Emotional abuse: emotional abuse could be putting someone down, undermining them or ignoring their emotional needs.
- Financial abuse: this involves control over the finances in a relationship. It could be forbidding a partner to get a job, stealing their wages, keeping track of their purchases or providing them with an insufficient allowance.
- Psychological abuse: psychological abuse can manifest as intimidation, threats or making someone question their own sanity, sometimes known as ‘gaslighting’.
- Physical abuse: this can involve any kind of physical assault such as punching, kicking, choking or shoving.
- Sexual abuse: this can involve physical sexual assault as well as unwanted jokes or comments. Just because you’re in a relationship, it doesn’t mean someone is owed sex.
- Social abuse: social abuse can include isolation from friends and family, putting the partner down publicly or destroying their reputation. Self-isolation due to Covid may particularly exacerbate this type of abuse.
- Technology-based abuse: this is abuse involving such things as mobile phones or the internet. It could entail hacking a partner’s accounts, confiscating their phone or spying on them electronically.
- Verbal abuse: verbal abuse can include public or private put downs, threats, or hurtful and damaging remarks.
In some cases, a partner may only engage in one type of abuse while in other relationships there may be multiple instances occurring. No matter what situation you’re in, if you’re uncomfortable it’s important to reach out for help.
Help and resources for domestic abuse
Whether it’s you or a friend who’s suffering, it’s important to be able to speak to someone. In many cases, the first step is reaching out to a friend or family member, but there are also professional and emergency services available.
Talk to someone you trust
If you’re able to, confide in someone you trust. Opening up will help you feel less alone and enable you to seek help. Speaking up may be difficult but it is a vital step.
Once people know what is going on, they’ll be able to help a lot more. It might mean checking in on you, giving you a safe place to stay outside your home or helping in another way.
What you can do to help
If someone approaches you about their domestic violence experiences, or if you suspect someone may be suffering domestic violence, assure them they are not alone and let them know what resources are available to them.
Try to listen without judgement, believe them, and affirm that you will support them. Depending on the type of domestic abuse they’re suffering, you may be able to help in a meaningful way.
Domestic violence resources
If someone is in immediate danger, dial 000.
NSW Domestic Violence Line
1800 65 64 63
This service provides domestic violence counselling, referrals and advice.
This is a national helpline providing resources for those who experience abuse.
1800 333 000
1300 735 947
With offices throughout New South Wales, East Coast Family Law can provide legal advice and mediation on domestic violence related matters.
For more information on domestic violence, including what signs to look for and how you can help someone who is in a domestic abuse situation, download our free ebook about getting support through domestic violence.
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