What is DV?

Domestic violence and family violence is abusive behaviour used by one person in a relationship to dominate and control another. The abusive behaviour generally has a pattern to it and is repeated. The result is that the person subjected to the violence lives in fear and intimidation. In some cases, the abuse may continue even after the relationship has finished.

The following behaviours are some examples of domestic and family violence:

  • Physical abuse such as hitting, slapping, punching, biting, kicking or pushing;
  • Damaging property such as the house, breaking furniture or hurting pets to intimidate and frighten you;
  • Threats to harm children, pets, family members or you;
  • Intimidation and harassment including humiliation, constant criticism, insults, persistent phone calls, following you or staying outside your home or workplace;
  • Forcing you to have sex or take part in sexual acts that you do not want;
  • Withholding necessities of life such as food, money, medical care and the company of family and friends.

Physical and sexual abuse may not begin until a year or so into the relationship and for many women, this type of behaviour first appears during pregnancy. However, controlling and dominating behaviour may be present at the start of the relationship but can be construed as jealousy, and is often regarded as a compliment or a sign of strong love.