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Family Violence

What is Family Violence?

Family violence is common.


In Australia, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse from a current or former partner.


Unfortunately, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women are at greater risk of family violence. Crime statistics in Victoria tell us that Aboriginal women are 6.6 times more likely to experience family violence than non-Aboriginal women. 

Family violence is an ongoing pattern of threatening, intimidating or coercive behaviour, in which one person seeks to gain power & control over another person. It includes:

  • Physical violence

  • Emotional & psychological abuse

  • Social abuse 

  • Sexual violence

  • Spiritual abuse

  • Cultural abuse

  • Financial abuse 

Family violence is serious

  • Aboriginal women are 5x more likely to be victims of homicide 

  • 35 times more likely to be hospitalized 

  • And nearly ten times more likely to die due to assault as non-Aboriginal females


Family violence has lifelong impacts

  • 83% of victims say the perpetrator blamed them for the violence.

  • 35% of Aboriginal women had experienced a lifetime of abuse including child abuse, sexual abuse and intimate partner violence. 

Family violence is misunderstood by the community

  • 41% of survey respondents believed family violence is committed equally by men and women (it isn’t)

  • 58% of family violence orders are said to list the victim as the perpetrator incorrectly as perpetrators can often act cool and calm by the time police arrive while women are distressed.

  • Community attitudes that blame victims compound the trauma of the incidence.  Victims said the lack of support felt ‘more hurtful than the wound of the crime itself.’

Who Causes Family Violence?

Family violence can happen in many different relationships, including:

  • Partners or ex-partners; including girlfriends, boyfriends, wives and husbands 

  • Family members; including parents, grandparents, Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, children

  • A carer

  • Somebody who lives in the same house

  • Other intimate relationships of mutual obligation & support 

There are a number of hurdles to overcome to leave an abusive situation, and they are different for everyone, but can include needing to think about:
  • Asking for help: you need to recognise the problem, overcome the shame of it and find a support service that can help you

  • Find safety: who can you turn to, what emergency or short term accommodation is available, how will you afford it, how do you keep your kids safe.

  • Navigating the justice system: court is formal and scary, do you know your rights and what you can ask for, will your perpetrator use the court system against you.

  • Setting yourself up to move forward: how will you manage cost of living pressures, find long term accommodation and manage your family relationships and your own health.


This is why a culturally safe organisation that focuses on self-determination is so important. EMH is here to advocate for and empower you. Our women have to overcome so many hurdles and continue to inspire us everyday.

Why is it so hard to get help?

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