While family violence can consist of physical abuse; psychological, financial, emotional, verbal, sexual, and social or cultural abuse are also recognised under the law as family violence.
Family violence isn’t confined to the lower socio-economic levels of society. The shadow of family violence can fall on the rich and the poor alike and it starts and stops with the individual. The definition of family violence in the family law act means violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family (the family member), or causes the family member to be fearful. All of these forms of abuse can cause significant distress and impact negatively on the victim’s mental and physical health.
Respectful and calm verbal and non-verbal communication is the most important approach to ensuring the destructive elements of family violence do not find their way into your relationship and family. Recognising, taking responsibility for, and stopping even the smallest acts of family violence early on in any relationship dynamic can prevent the insidious slide into the abyss of family violence that can lead to relationship and/or family breakup and irreparable damage.
This may require that the perpetrator or victim of family violence seek out professional help and support from a GP who may make a referral to a mental health care plan or family violence program. For more information about family violence services and support, White Ribbon have an excellent website with links to 24/7 support. In cases of emergencies where family violence is escalating, the police should always be called on 000. ■
Darren Radley, Relationship Counsellor & Sex Therapist ;
Jeanette Radley, Psychotherapist/Counsellor & Mediator
The EPICentre at 160 New Town Road, New Town.
P: 6228 5535 www.theepicentre.net.au