Understanding the different forms of Family Violence

Jan 22, 2019

Family, domestic and sexual violence is a major health and welfare issue in Australia.

For a long time, Family Violence was mainly understood as physical violence committed between family members. However, there is more to the problem of family violence than meets the eye. Educating the community on the ways in which family violence is perpetuated will ultimately lead to more positive outcomes for victims or potential victims of this violence.

Family violence can take the form of emotional, physical, sexual, verbal, financial, social and spiritual abuse. While family violence comes in many forms, it is generally committed with the aim of achieving one of the following:

  • To control or dominate another person
  • Hurt or lower another person’s self-esteem
  • Restrict another person’s choice

Below, we discuss the different forms of family violence that take place to help raise awareness in the Tasmanian community about how best to identify friends or family members who may find themselves in at-risk situations.


Forms of emotional abuse can include: making accusations, putting someone down, ridiculing them, blackmail, threatening, giving the ‘silent treatment’ and abusing children in the family. Emotional violence and abuse can also take the form of stalking and disabling the phone.


Forms of physical abuse can include: pushing, shaking, shoving, pinching, slapping, punching, kicking, twisting limbs, pulling hair, using guns, knives and other weapons. It also includes smashing up the house – crockery and furniture, punching holes in the walls and doors, throwing or destroying personal possessions and hurting or killing family pets.


Forms of sexual violence and abuse can include: demanding sex, treating you like an object, demanding sexual practices against your will and rape.


Forms of verbal abuse can include: shouting abuse, humiliation in private and in the front of others and name calling.


Forms of financial/ economic abuse can include: having to always ask for money, having to account for every dollar and cent, not having access to a bank account, not being involved in any financial decisions, being kept ‘short’ , stopping the credit card and being offered money in return for spending time together.


Forms of social abuse can include: stopping friends or family visiting, being critical about time spent outside of the house, going everywhere and doing everything together, checking up on where you are all the time, not being allowed to have personal friends and jealousy and possessiveness.


Forms of spiritual abuse can include: ridiculing your religion or spiritual beliefs, using religion to enforce male privilege, preventing you from attending church or expressing your religious and spiritual beliefs and not allowing the celebration of religious holidays.

Family Violence most commonly occurs between people who are in, or have been in, an intimate relationship.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suffering from the kinds of abuse we have discussed above, SafeChoices can provide support in times of crisis. Our team of compassionate workers will be able to help you by providing information about your choices to help you choose the right path for you and your children.

WEBSITE: www.safechoices.com.au

SAFE CHOICES PHONE: 1800 806 189 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm)

IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS call: Triple Zero - 000