Domestic violence is one of the most disturbing crimes and will often go unreported across Australia. This may be due to emotional ties, or the fact that the victim relies so much on the perpetrator for financial support or to provide a roof over their head. If you are unfortunate enough to be in this position, what should you do?
Firstly, understand that the law provides you with a considerable amount of support and you should never be reluctant to come forward. There are a number of different areas that constitute family or domestic violence and it's possible that you have experienced abuse in several different categories at the same time.
You can be subject to psychological abuse if the perpetrator threatens to take your children and move away, or if they told you that other people "won't believe you" if you report their actions.
You can be subjected to emotional abuse if the perpetrator goes through extreme behavioural changes and mood swings that threaten you.
If you're constantly on the receiving end of their acid tongue, then you could be suffering from verbal abuse. This can be construed in many different ways, but includes attacks on your appearance or personality or somebody who humiliates you in public.
You could be subject to social abuse if the other person is controlling your access to a means of transportation and stopping you from visiting others. You could also be suffering here if the perpetrator is turning away friends or family by being consistently rude to them.
If the other party is giving you an insufficient living allowance, or using too much of your own income for any purpose then this can be construed as financial abuse. If you've been coerced into signing particular documents by them, this also qualifies here.
Physical and Sexual
Finally, there are the other and perhaps more frightening elements of domestic abuse — sexual and physical. Notice that in addition to actual assault by hitting, physical abuse can also be described as denying access to medical attention, medication, food, or causing you to become sleep deprived.
If you feel that you are in physical danger, then you should immediately contact the police for support. If you feel that the abuse is more subtle (as in some of the situations described above) then you should get in touch with criminal law attorneys to determine the safest steps to proceed.