What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse, also called "domestic violence", can be defined as a pattern of behaviour in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

NO ONE deserves to be abused. The abuse is not your fault. You are not alone.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviours that frighten, intimidate, terrorise, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone.

Coercive control is when someone repeatedly hurts, scares or isolates another person to control them. It’s domestic abuse and it can cause serious harm.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith or class.

Are You Being Abused?

The following questions from United Nations may help you to think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner.

Does your partner…

  • Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
  • Put down your accomplishments?
  • Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
  • Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
  • Tell you that you are nothing without them?
  • Treat you roughly—grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
  • Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
  • Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
  • Blame you for how they feel or act?
  • Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?
  • Make you feel like there is “no way out” of the relationship?
  • Prevent you from doing things you want – like spending time with friends or family?
  • Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?

Do You…

  • Sometimes feel scared of how your partner may behave?
  • Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behaviour?
  • Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
  • Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
  • Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
  • Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?

Warning Signs

Everyone has the right to live without fear and violence

The following article from Relationships Australia discusses the warning signs of domestic and family violence, the impact of domestic and family violence on women and getting help for domestic and family violence.


If you are experiencing domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT

A-Z Domestic Violence Services


Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited is an independent, not-for-profit research organisation established to produce evidence to support the reduction   of violence against women and their children.

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited is an independent, not-for-profit research organisation established to produce evidence to support the reduction   of violence against women and their children.


We’re here for community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders.

Carrie’s Place Domestic Violence & Homelessness Services Inc.

Carrie’s Place mission aim to increase the number of families in the Maitland and Lower Hunter area, who are housed, safe, and living free from abuse.

Carrie’s Place provides a range of culturally appropriate programs for people experiencing domestic and family violence, and/or homelessness. Carrie’s Place employs highly qualified workers, with specialist skills, who provide case management, group work and court advocacy, to assist people to move forward with their lives with independence, safety, and security.

Communities & Justice (NSW Government)

NSW Domestic Violence Line.

Domestic Violence NSW

Provides telephone counselling, information and referrals for women and same-sex partners who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence.

  • 24 hours, 7 days a week


Publish resources on sexual and reproductive health, family violence support, community health and wellbeing, and gender equity. You will also find our strategies, plans and reports here.

Full Stop Australia

NSW Sexual Violence Helpline - 24 hours, 7 days a week

Provides telephone and online counselling for anyone who is or has experienced sexual violence and their supporters.

Hunter Domestic Violence Support & Advisory Service / Jodie’s Place

A safe place to land when families hit rocky waters. Established in 2013, Jodies Place offers a safe refuge home for up to 11 women and children in Cessnock. It is run by volunteers and supported by Huntlee Property Group.

The refuge is named after Jodie Jurd, who died from domestic violence in November 2011.

Hunter Women’s Centre

Resources include:

  • Emergencies
  • Parenting and Children
  • Domestic Violence
  • General Health
  • Mental Health
  • Women’s Health
  • Homelessness
  • Legal
  • Interpreter
  • Sexual Assault

Legal Aid New South Wales

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Hunter Valley.

Legal Aid NSW helps adults and children experiencing domestic and family violence. We recognise that people can have many legal issues that may arise from their experience of violence.

We provide free legal advice, duty services, and case representation through grants of legal aid for matters which are eligible under our policies.  We also help at some courts and tribunals across NSW.

Services Australia (Australian Government)

Information, referrals and support for people affected by family and domestic violence.

White Ribbon Australia

White Ribbon Australia is a part of a global social movement working to eliminate gendered violence. We strive for an Australian society where all women and children are safe.

White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement engaging men and boys to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender equality and create new opportunities for men to build positive, healthy and respectful relationships.