Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) includes any behaviour, in an intimate or family relationship, which is violent, threatening, coercive or controlling, causing a person to live in fear and to be made to do things against their will. DFV can happen to anyone and can take many forms. It is often part of a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour.

According to a United Nations report;

“On the basis of data from 2005 to 2016 for 87 countries, 19 per cent of women between 15 and 49 years of age said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey. In the most extreme cases, such violence can lead to death.

In 2012, almost half of all women who were victims of intentional homicide worldwide were killed by an intimate partner or family member, compared to 6 per cent of male victims.”


You can be more prepared to respond in ways that uphold your dignity and build on the safety of the person at risk.


Your response to abuse, from the point when you’re aware of it, matters significantly to people experiencing threat and/or harm. One vital step to helping someone, is to understand how your actions and words can help or how your actions could harm.

Being safe is no simple or single decision, or task.

A good first step is to learn more about the person’s world and to follow their lead.

  • I may not know what I want you to do, I may want you to do something, or not do something.
  • I may want your quiet support alongside me, or I may want you to do something proactive, or a mix of these things.
  • Listen to me and follow my lead.
  • Let me decide what’s needed and what’s next.
  • Let me lead the pace and the precision of any steps.
  • All of this may take time.


  • Physical violence including physical assault or abuse
  • Reproductive coercion
  • Sexualised assault and other abusive or coercive behaviour of a sexualised nature
  • Emotional or psychological abuse including verbal abuse, threats of violence, threats of self-harm or suicide, blackmail and bribery
  • Economic abuse; for example, denying a person reasonable financial autonomy or financial support
  • Stalking; for example, harassment, intimidation or coercion of the other person’s family in order to cause fear or ongoing harassment, including through the use of electronic communication or social media
  • Kidnapping or deprivation of liberty, as well as unreasonably preventing the other person from making or keeping connections with her or his family or kin, friends, faith or culture
  • Damage to property irrespective of whether the victim owns the property
  • Causing injury or death to an animal irrespective of whether the victim owns the animal.

If you or someone you know is a victim of family violence, Converge counsellors are here to help and support you. You might have access to free counselling through your employer. It’s completely confidential.

To access Converge counselling services, simply call 1300 OUR EAP (1300 687 327) to make a time to speak with one of our team or book online or in the Converge App (Android or iOS).

Call 000 if you are in immediate danger, or to access 24/7 counselling and support, you can also call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.