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family violence

Tuesday, 04 February 2020 10:26

What is family violence?

Under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), family violence is:

  • behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour
    • is physically or sexually abusive; or
    • is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
    • is economically abusive; or
    • is threatening; or
    • is coercive; or
    • in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person; or
  • behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to in paragraph (a).

It is important to note these behaviours can be used via telecommunications (e.g. internet or phone) as well as in person.

Definition of family

The definition of family in the Protection Act is inclusive, and includes:

  • Biological family
  • Kin relationships
  • Marriage, de facto or intimate personal relationships (including lesbian, gay or queer relationships)
  • Parents and children who are not related biologically (including rainbow families)
  • Children who usually reside with another person (e.g. foster children)
  • Children of partners
  • Current and former relationships
  • People living in the same house
  • People living in the same residential facility and who are reliant on care (‘family like’)
  • The carer of a person with a disability if the person regards the carer as a family member.

For LGBTIQ people, this can also include families of choice: friends and community members who play the role of family particularly where families of origin are unsupportive or estranged.

Intimate personal relationships may be monogamous, open or polyamorous, short or long term, live-in or not, married or not, or long distance, both physical and emotional, primarily physical or primarily emotional.

Published in Professionals
Thursday, 30 January 2020 02:21

You may have heard of ‘gaslighting’, a term used to describe a form of emotional and psychological manipulation and abuse.

Gaslighting can cause someone to question their own perception of events, their memory, their thoughts, and doubt their sanity.

It is common for gaslighting to include behaviour such as someone abusing their partner by telling them they are irrational, imagining things, are overly emotional or “crazy”.


According to Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre gaslighting can include:

  • Making you doubt your own recollection or telling you things did not happen
  • Telling you that you are crazy or have mental health concerns
  • Telling you that you are imagining or over-exaggerating their abusive behaviour
  • Telling you or other people, including friends, police, doctors, counsellors or legal professionals that you are the one being abusive towards them
  • Telling other people that you are unstable, have mental health problems or substance abuse problems when you don’t


Long term gaslighting or psychological abuse can leave a person unsure of their sanity, their perception of reality and feeling that they are going “crazy”. This can lead people to experience emotional and mental health issues.

Gaslighting can occur in intimate partner relationships as well as within families, at work, in a community group or in a group of friends. The onus of responsibility is always on the person using gaslighting to stop.

Safe steps: https://www.safesteps.org.au/understanding-family-violence/types-of-abuse/psychological-abuse/

If you are using or experiencing gaslighting, there is support available to you

Trust your Instincts – You Deserve Respect

With Respect – 1800 542 847





Published in Family Violence
Monday, 27 January 2020 08:07

Often it can be difficult to recognise or articulate your experience as family or intimate partner violence. This may be due to ongoing control, manipulation or gaslighting as well as minimisation from family, friends, or the person using violence.

People may experience intimate partner violence from a current partner, partners or ex-partners. Family Violence can be used by someone from family of origin, chosen family, or someone in a caring role.

When someone is using family or intimate partner violence towards you, you may begin to doubt yourself or think the behaviours are in your imagination. Some of us feel ashamed or worry about what others will say or think about us and whether our relationships are healthy.

If you are fearful, nervous or worried about your relationship, seek support.

You can call With Respect for support, advice and referral.

Intimate partner violence and family violence in LGBTIQ+ relationships


Some experiences of intimate partner violence and family violence can be unique to our LGBTIQ+ relationships and our chosen families. Here are a few examples of the kind of experiences some people report.  This is a good way to check in about your own relationships but is not a complete list.

These behaviours may be an indication that you should seek support or advice from a family violence specialist.

Does your partner:

  • Humiliate you, call you names or make fun of your body?
  • Threaten to ‘out’ your sexuality, gender (identity, expression or history) or variation in sex characteristics to your friends, family or work?
  • Threaten to ‘out’ your sexual health history or status (i.e HIV status)?
  • Isolate or prevent you from attending LGBTIQ events or venues?
  • Attempt to convince you their behaviour is normal or that family violence doesn’t exist in LGBTIQ relationships?
  • Undermine your parenting on the basis of your sexuality or gender identity?
  • Pressure you to have surgery against your wishes?
  • Force or pressure you to perform?
  • Control your access to your medication (including hormones) or prevent you from taking your medication?

Then you might be experiencing intimate partner violence or family violence.

You can call With Respect for support, advice and referral.

Signs of family violence

Like our families, family violence can come in all different shapes and sizes. This list includes some of the types of behaviour which may be considered family violence, however, it is important to remember that family violence is a unique experience and if any behaviour causes you to feel fearful, you may be experiencing family violence.

 If you are fearful of your partner or a family member or if they:

  • Have sudden outbursts of anger?
  • Act overly protective or become jealous?
  • Make it difficult or restrict you from engaging with your community/friends/family or activities?
  • Give you the ‘silent treatment’ or find ways to not be accountable for their behaviour?
  • Behave unpredictably?
  • Promise they will change behaviour that is harmful to you but do not follow through?
  • Tell you that you can’t trust friends or family?
  • Blame you for their behaviour?
  • Control your money against your will?
  • Control your day-to-day activities. Eg. Where you go, who you see?
  • Monitor, harass or stalk you through social media?
  • Constantly check up on you or harass you with calls or texts?
  • Threaten to hurt you or intimate you in any way?
  • Physically harmed you in any way?
  • Make you worried for your children/partner/family member/pet’s safety?
  • Lock you in or out of your house, or make it difficult for you to leave?
  • Convince you to doubt your own judgement or memory of events?
  • Make you feel trapped with threats to self-harm or suicide?

These are signs of family violence.

If you answered yes to one or any of these questions you may be experiencing family violence.  Call 1800 LGBTIQ for help and support.

Together we can create a safe community where all LGBTIQ people and their families can access family violence services when they need them.





Published in Family Violence

1800 LGBTIQ | 1800 542 847