Family Violence

The def­i­n­i­tion of Fam­i­ly Vio­lence in Tas­ma­nia as per the Fam­i­ly Vio­lence Act 2004 (see link) states that fam­i­ly vio­lence means any of the fol­low­ing types of con­duct com­mit­ted by a per­son, direct­ly or indi­rect­ly, against that person’s spouse or part­ner: this includes assault, includ­ing sex­u­al assault, threats, coer­cion, intim­i­da­tion or ver­bal abuse. Abduc­tion, stalk­ing, eco­nom­ic abuse, emo­tion­al abuse or intim­i­da­tion and con­tra­ven­ing an exter­nal fam­i­ly vio­lence order.

Chil­dren who wit­ness assault from one par­ent to the oth­er can live with scars for the rest of their lives. It can affect their behav­iour, their brain devel­op­ment, cause phys­i­cal, emo­tion­al and devel­op­ment delay, as well as dif­fi­cul­ties with con­cen­tra­tion at school, there­fore affect­ing their edu­ca­tion­al pos­si­bil­i­ties. Wit­ness­ing vio­lence can cause the child some­times to make unsafe choic­es in their lives as adults.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Fam­i­ly vio­lence remains a huge issue in Tas­ma­nia and nation­wide. Home should be a place of safe­ty, but for too many in our soci­ety home is instead a place of fear and secrets. Many cas­es of fam­i­ly vio­lence still don’t get report­ed, for fear of back­lash from the per­pe­tra­tor and not want­i­ng fam­i­ly and friends to know what the vic­tims are endur­ing. Many women become iso­lat­ed by their part­ners mov­ing them away from fam­i­ly and friends to oth­er states, coun­try areas or just by mak­ing vis­i­tors to the home feel uncom­fort­able so that they grad­u­al­ly stop visiting.

Some of the rea­sons women don’t leave can be the finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties involved in hav­ing to set up house again in a new area and find­ing an afford­able house to live in, as well as chil­dren often hav­ing to change schools. Cul­tur­al and reli­gious beliefs can also affect the deci­sion of stay­ing or leav­ing the vio­lent sit­u­a­tion. Vic­tims can also be brain­washed into think­ing the vio­lence is some­how their fault.

The longer you stay with an abu­sive part­ner, the more dif­fi­cult it can be to leave as self-esteem is erod­ed more and more every day. Women and chil­dren do recov­er with sup­port and coun­selling and can with time become self-suf­fi­cient and feel at peace and turn around the long term effects of liv­ing with vio­lence. Love is not about being a phys­i­cal or ver­bal punch­ing bag” for your part­ner. No one deserves to live with abuse.

Our advice to any­one who is liv­ing in a vio­lent rela­tion­ship and want­i­ng to leave would be to first assess their per­son­al safe­ty and that of the chil­dren and any­one else in their care, then leave the sit­u­a­tion as soon as pos­si­ble and at a safe time, ensur­ing that they have their chil­dren and any iden­ti­fi­ca­tion if pos­si­ble. The safest way to get out of the sit­u­a­tion is to con­tact the police who can take you to a safe place. If a life-threat­en­ing inci­dent is hap­pen­ing call the emer­gency num­ber on 000

Women and chil­dren who access Mag­no­lia Place LWS can be referred to the Vic­tim Safe­ty Response Team (VSRT), who are part of the police depart­ment and have spe­cialised train­ing and expe­ri­ence work­ing with victims/​survivors of fam­i­ly vio­lence. We also refer to spe­cialised Fam­i­ly Vio­lence Coun­selling and Sup­port Ser­vices who are able to pro­vide coun­selling and ongo­ing sup­port. The Mag­no­lia Place LWS team not only pro­vide safe, high secu­ri­ty, afford­able tem­po­rary accom­mo­da­tion but a car­ing atti­tude to sup­port women and chil­dren with what­ev­er issues they are deal­ing with while they are liv­ing at the shelter.