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Family Violence.

Family violence includes physical, economic, sexual, verbal, emotional, social, and spiritual abuse, stalking, and threats.

What is family violence?

Family violence is complex. In Tasmania, family violence is violent, abusive, and controlling behaviour committed by a person against their current or former spouse or intimate partner. Family violence extends beyond physical violence and includes economic abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, and breaching any existing orders relating to Family Violence and property damage.

The Tasmanian Family Violence Act 2004 defines Family Violence in Tasmania as any of the following types of conduct committed by a person directly or indirectly, against that person’s spouse or partner:

  • Assault, including sexual assault
  • Threats, coercion intimidation, or verbal abuse
  • Abduction
  • Stalking and bullying
  • Economic abuse
  • Emotional abuse or intimidation
  • Contravening a Family Violence Order
  • Damage caused indirectly or directly to property of spouse or partner or an affected child


Who experiences family violence?

Women are most likely to experience family violence, however, family violence can take on many forms and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, culture, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic status. 


How do I report family violence?

You can contact Family Violence Response and Referral Line on 1800 633 937.

If you require emergency assistance, please call 000. To report an incident of family violence, contact the Tasmania Police Assistance Line at 13 14 44 or attend your local police station.

If you think someone has been stalking you online, you can report them to eSafety if they meet the threshold for one of our regulatory schemes (esafety.gov.au).

Family Violence can include

Physical abuse happens when a person uses physical force against another person. Physical abuse can start slowly and inconspicuously, for example by throwing an object or a slap, and get more intense or worse over time.

Financial abuse can be subtle, a person gradually taking control over bank accounts and financial transactions. Financial abuse can also be obvious, violent, and threatening. For example, forbidding a person from working or spending their wages. 

Sexual abuse is any form of forced or unwanted sexual activity. The perpetrator of sexual abuse may use physical force, make threats or take advantage of a person unable to give consent.  Sexual abuse mainly happens between people who know each other and can occur in the context of domestic violence.

Verbal abuse is a key feature of emotionally abusive relationships. The perpetrator consistently makes statements that negatively label a person.  This has a serious impact on the self-esteem and confidence of the person experiencing the verbal abuse.  Verbal abuse includes angry yelling, but it also includes cold statements designed to humiliate a person.

Emotional abuse does not leave physical scars, but it can have a big impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Perpetrators of emotional abuse use it to take away a person’s independence, confidence, and self-esteem. This helps the perpetrator maintain power and control in the relationship. Physically abusive relationships often include aspects of emotional abuse.

Perpetrators of social abuse prevent a person from spending time with family and friends and participating in social activities. By isolating a person from support networks, the perpetrator is attempting to assert power and control.   Without a network of friends and family, it can be very difficult to leave an abusive relationship.  

Spiritual abuse is the denial or use of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices to control and dominate. Spiritual abuse can impact self-esteem and confidence, make a person feel guilty, and isolate them. 

You can learn about the forms of family violence here.

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out today.

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Hobart Women's Shelter provides safe, emergency accommodation and support to women and children affected by family violence and/or those experiencing homelessness.

If you or someone you know needs emergency accommodation, please call us on 03 6273 8455 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

For immediate assistance, Housing Connect is available on 1800 800 588, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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