The statistical data on domestic violence in Australia shows that it is one of the most pressing problems in the country. During one of the surveys, it was determined that at least 34% of women who were in a relationship, had experienced some form of violence from their partner (current or previous). Men aren’t spared this fate either, but they are less likely to report the crime than women. Considering the fact that only about 17% of the victims report a physical assault from a current partner, it’s easy to see that the problem of domestic violence, in reality, is more serious than the figures indicate.

What is considered domestic violence?

One of the biggest difficulties with eradicating this particular problem is the fact that it takes many forms. This makes defining this term extremely difficult, and lack of an accurate definition and ‘measurement scale’ makes it harder to take a case of abuse to court.

The National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Children sees domestic violence as ‘an ongoing pattern of behaviour aimed to control one’s partner through fear…’ This form of abuse transcends the limits of physical violence. It includes the following forms of abuse:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Social (systematic isolation)
  • Spiritual
  • Economic
  • Sexual

Family violence is, in fact, a broader term than domestic violence and encompasses a variety of behaviours aimed at controlling or threatening a family member.

How do we fight domestic violence?

If you are a victim of domestic violence, the first thing to do is to seek help. Any form of abuse is a crime and extricating yourself from an abusive relationship should be your first priority. Therefore, you should contact your local domestic violence hotline, the police, or a lawyer.

The Australian government understands the severity of this program and addresses it through a variety of programs and organizations that include but aren’t limited to:

  • National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault
  • Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act (2012)
  • Partnership against Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS)

The latter program was inspired by Clare’s Law of the UK. This disclosure scheme consists of two elements:

  1. The right to ask.
    This request can be filed when a person wants to know whether their partner has a history of domestic violence.
  2. The right to know.
    These requests are filed by the local police when they suspect a person might be at risk.

Domestic violence is a problem that cannot be ignored as it now affects over 50% of Australians. Reporting the crime and getting the abuser punished is the right way to go in the fight against this social phenomenon.