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Domestic violence

Domestic violence can be defined as ' abuse of power perpetrated mainly by men against women both in relationships and after separation. It occurs when one partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate the other. The most commonly acknowledged forms of violence are physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional and social abuse and economic deprivation (Australian Law Reform Commission and New South Wales Reform Commission 2010).



1. Physical or sexual violence


2. Using coercion and threats - making and/or carrying out threats to hurt her; threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare; making her drop charges; making her do illegal things.


3. Using intimidation - making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures; smashing things; destroying her property; abusing pets; displaying weapons.


4. Using emotional abuse - putting her down; making her feel bad about herself; calling her names; making her think she's crazy; playing mind games; humiliating her; making her feel guilty.


5. Using isolation - controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes; limiting her outside involvement; using jealousy to justify actions.


6. Minimizing, denying and blaming - making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns seriously; saying the abuse didn't happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behaviour; saying that she caused it.


7. Using children - making her feel guilty about the children; using children to relay messages; using visitation to harass her; threatening to take the children away.


8. Using male privilege - treating her like a servant; making all the big decisions; acting like "the master of the castle"; being the one to define men's and women's roles.


9. Using economic abuse - preventing her from getting or keeping a job; making her ask for money; giving her an allowance; taking her money; not letting her know about or have access to family income.


(Domestic Abuse International Project,



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