Unveiling Family Violence in Tasmania. Discover valuable information, resources, and support on this page dedicated to raising awareness and fostering a safer environment.

‘Family violence’ and ‘domestic violence’ are commonly used terms with similar meanings: violent or controlling behaviour that happens between partners or among family.

Sometimes it is hard to know if what is happening to us is actually family violence. Here is a useful definition:

… an ongoing pattern of behaviour aimed at controlling a partner through fear, for example, by using behaviour which is violent and threatening. In most cases, violent behaviour is part of a range of tactics to exercise power and control over women and their children and can be both criminal and non-criminal. Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse (Council of Australian Governments, 2011, p. 2)

Family violence is about one partner controlling the other, so they can always get their own way in the relationship.

The big thing to remember about family violence is that it is not just physical violence.

In Tasmania, ‘family violence’ is defined as any of the following:

  • Physical assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Threats, intimidation or verbal abuse
  • Coercion
  • Emotional abuse
  • Economic abuse
  • Abduction
  • Stalking

All these acts are defined as criminal by the Family Violence Act (Tasmania) 2004.

These are some common behaviours which are used in relationships to control spouses and partners. If any of them are happening to you, they could be called family violence.

  • Yelling and screaming
  • Insulting you, calling you names or swearing at you, treating you with contempt, ignoring or laughing at your opinions
  • Intimidating or scaring you, trying to make you feel afraid, including unspoken threats and threatening body language
  • Breaking or throwing things, punching walls or doors, driving angrily
  • Pushing or holding you, stopping you from leaving the room
  • Trying to make you feel stupid or wrong, turning things around so you feel like it is your fault, blaming everything on you
  • Micromanaging your behaviour, especially around:
    • where you can go and who you can see
    • who you can talk to
    • housekeeping, cleaning, cooking
    • how you parent and discipline your children
    • your appearance
    • sex
  • Stopping you, or making it very hard for you to see or talk to friends or family
  • Restricting your access to money, making you live on a tight budget, making you justify the money you spend, stopping you from seeing or accessing bank accounts
  • Putting you under surveillance, stalking or following you, keeping track of where you are electronically without permission, recording you against your will
  • Checking or controlling your phone or social media without permission, putting apps on your phone that you don’t want
  • Using pressure or guilt to make you have sex, including ‘make-up sex’
  • Hurting, or threatening to hurt, children or animals
  • Acting unpredictably, so you never know when the next threat or explosion is coming and you have to “walk on eggshells”

The bottom line is, if your partner is doing something to you without your permission, or is not treating you like an equal, it is probably family violence.

Abusive partners will often say they were forced to do these things because your behaviour made them or they were trying to defend themselves. Ask yourself, do I really have the power to make them do things? Are they as scared of me as I sometimes am of them?