Frequently Asked Questions
There are so many myths and false stereotypes surrounding issues of family and domestic violence, and they continue to pervade the mainstream media, shaping the dialogue of our community as a whole. So we need to keep having challenging conversations to increase understanding and awareness.
Above all, we must work together to help amplify the voices of those who have lived experience so that we can listen and learn.
The following FAQs have been developed in conversation with clients and staff of Orana House, with assistance from White Ribbon Australia.
This question comes up often and is an unfortunate example of victim-blaming. Often, a woman’s options are limited in ways that are not immediately visible to others. Some of the reasons include:
- Fear the violence will get worse if she leaves, both for herself and her children
- Being led to believe that violence is normal
- Financial dependence
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of a support network
- Cultural values and religious beliefs
- Pressure from family
It isn’t easy to know for sure. An abusive person may be very skilled at hiding their violent behaviour from people outside of the relationship. However, often there are early warning signs and a pattern of power and control.
If you believe there is a risk of violence to someone you know, you can establish trust by listening without judgement. Remember that, despite the threat of danger, it can still take a very long time for someone to decide to seek help and leave.
Keep lines of communication open by checking in regularly, even if it is only a short message.
You can find a list of useful links here.
If you are assisting someone to leave, you can also find a detailed safety planning list here.
There are some important factors to keep in mind when having a constructive conversation around family and domestic violence.
Never victim blame. We need to believe, support and trust survivors.
Challenge the myths. For example, domestic violence is often considered to be a private, family matter. It’s not. Rather, it is a widespread issue that affects the entire community. As a result, it is dependent on everyone to work together to address the problem.
Members of the community can show support by calling out gender bias where it exists: in the media, the political sphere and in the workplace.
- 1 woman in 3 has experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
- Police are called to an FDV matter every 2 minutes
- Every day 12 women are hospitalised due to FDV
- Every 9 days, a woman is killed by a current or former partner
- 1 in 4 of all children are exposed to family and domestic violence during childhood
The combined health, administration and social welfare costs of violence against women have been estimated to be $21.7 billion a year, with projections suggesting that if no further action is taken to prevent violence against women, costs will accumulate to $323.4 billion over a thirty-year period from 2014-15 to 2044-45*.
*Price Waterhouse Coopers (2015) ‘A high price to pay: the economic case for preventing violence against women’, report prepared for Our Watch and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth).
Both men and women experience violence and most men are not perpetrators of violence. However, there are gendered patterns in violence perpetration and victimisation. Women are much more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner and with more severe impacts including hospitalisation or death. Understanding gendered patterns is crucial for understanding domestic and family violence and developing effective responses, including preventative strategies.
- … more likely than men to experience violence by a partner
(17% or 1.6 million women, compared to 6.1% or 547,600 of men. ABS,2017)
- … more likely than men to experience sexual assault
(17% or 1.6 million women, compared to 4.3% or 384,800 men. ABS, 2017)
- … most likely to experience physical assault in their home
(for their most recent incident, 65% or 689,000 women. ABS, 2017)
- … more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner
(79% or 99 of a total of 126 people killed by an intimate partner were women.
(Source: Bryant & Bricknell 2017)