Domestic Violence is a crime. The NSW Department of Health describes domestic violence as any form of abusive behaviour used by one person against another within a family with the most common example being the use of violence and control by men against women and children.
Examples of domestic violence include; physical assault, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual assault, financial abuse (keeping money and other resources from their partner) and social abuse (not allowing someone to see family or friends).
If you require assistance you can contact The Domestic Violence Crisis Line on 1800 65 64 63 (24 hours). It is a confidential telephone crisis counselling and referral service that also provides information about assistance available from police, courts and the law. Emergency accommodation needs can also be met.
The Willoughby Social Plan for Gender 2005 - 2009 identified domestic violence as a 'hidden issue' with many victims not being fully aware of support services and legal rights available to them. In particular, women from a non-English speaking background were worst affected.
The Social Plan states that fear plays a large role in deterring victims from seeking help. Other factors might include emotional attachment to the abuser, shame, embarrassment and social isolation. It is estimated that approximately 42% of women who have been in a previous relationship with a partner have experienced domestic violence at some point from that partner. (ABS Women's Safety Australia, 1996).
There are laws in place to assist the victims of domestic violence, including children.
What to do if you need help
There are many services available to assist victims of domestic violence. These services are confidential and many will offer support in a variety of languages. Counselling services are also available. Interpreter Services are available on 131 450.
Helpful numbers include:
CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay Naremburn - 02 8425 8700
Women's Information and Referral Service - 1800 817 227 (WIRS)
Chatswood Police - 02 9414 8499
Child Protection & Family Crisis - 02 1800 066 777
Legal Aid Helpline - 1300 888 529
Lower North Shore Domestic Violence Network - 1800 65 64 63
NSW Domestic Violence Line - 1800 65 64 63
NSW Women's Refuge Resource Centre - 9698 9777
Violence Court Assistance - 02 9760 0111
Domestic Violence Court Support Scheme - 02 8425 8700
Women's Legal Services NSW - 02 9749 5533