Domestic violence causes immeasurable and lasting harm to survivors, going beyond physical violence to include various forms of abusive behavior that seek to control or dominate through fear. While it can affect anyone, regardless of culture, sexuality, or gender identity, it is often perpetrated by male partners towards women, both current and former.
Domestic violence counselling equips survivors with the necessary tools to manage or exit a relationship, and cope with the aftermath of an abusive relationship. This involves empowering them to make informed decisions, rebuild self-esteem, restore trust in healthy relationships, recognise warning signs of domestic violence, evaluate and respond to risks, and access community support services.
For perpetrators of domestic violence, counselling offers a chance to learn healthy ways to express themselves and manage their emotions. By acknowledging their harmful behaviours, understanding the impact on themselves and others, recognising their capacity to change, and practicing healthy behaviour patterns, they can break the cycle of violence.
If you are unsure whether you are experiencing domestic violence, a qualified counsellor can help you understand your situation and provide guidance on your current or past relationship.
Domestic violence is a form of abuse that instills fear in another person, and can take on many different forms. These forms of abuse are not mutually exclusive and can include:
Physical Abuse: Any act of violence directed towards a person's body, children, pets, or property. This can involve punching, pushing, kicking, choking, or the use of weapons.
Sexual Abuse: Forcing unwanted sexual acts or sex on a person. This can also include forcing a person to dress in a certain way.
Verbal or Emotional Abuse: Behaviors that damage a person's self-esteem, such as yelling, name-calling, verbal threats, and refusing to communicate. This can also include undermining parenthood in front of children or publishing personal information or photos without a person's consent.
Domestic violence involves behaviour patterns that cause another person to live in fear.
Survivors of domestic violence may have repeated physical injuries like bruises, scratches, or burns. They might conceal their injuries or not provide logical explanations for them.
But physical abuse is of domestic violence. Other types of domestic violence can be harder to spot, but there are signs to look out for:
Domestic violence counselling can benefit survivors of violence, regardless of whether they have physical or emotional symptoms. If you're unsure whether you need domestic violence counselling, here are some signs to look for:
Emotional Symptoms: Survivors of violence may experience emotional symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, difficulty sleeping, depression, chronic fear, or feeling responsible or deserving of the violence. They may also have flashbacks or nightmares about the abuse and strong reactions to any mention or reminder of the abuse.
Physical Symptoms: Survivors of violence may experience physical symptoms, such as chronic tension or pain, headaches, asthma, indigestion, interrupted sleep, genital irritation, or pelvic pain. These physical symptoms can be a result of the psychological distress caused by the abuse, even if the abuse was not physical in nature.
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms or feel that you need support to heal from the trauma of domestic violence, domestic violence counselling may be beneficial for you.
Supportive Domestic Violence services in Australia
If you are experiencing domestic violence in any form, there are services to support you.
1800RESPECT is a free domestic violence counselling service open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
P: 1800 737 732
Kids Helpline is a free counselling service for people aged 5 to 25.
P: 1800 551 800
Lifeline is a free counselling service that helps people experiencing domestic violence.
P: 131 114
Family Relationship Advice assists with family issues, including separation and domestic violence.
P: 1800 050 321
The Elder Abuse Help Line provides free information and support. The Service Finder can help you find services in your area.
P: 1800 353 374
Sunny provides information on domestic violence and assists women with a disability to access support services.
MensLine Australia provides support to both survivors and perpetrators of violence perpetrators, online and over the phone.
P: 1300 789 978
Men’s Referral Service is a free counselling and referral service to help men stop using violence, available online at the No to Violence website and over the phone.
P: 1300 766 491
Financial Counselling Australia offers free financial counselling to help people experiencing domestic violence.
P: 1800 007 007
National Legal Aid connects you to legal assistance in your state or territory. It provides free information sessions and phone advice.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of this land and pay our respects to their history, their living culture and to Elders past and present.
We are constantly inspired by the kindness and compassion of our supporters, who have shown time and time again that they believe in our vision for a world free from domestic and family violence. We are humbled and grateful for your partnership, which enables us to continue our vital work.
1800 737 732
13 11 14
Lisa Harnum Foundation
1300 732 848
P.O Box 329, Round Corner NSW 2158