Family Violence, or abuse, is when someone behaves abusively towards a family member. It is part of a pattern of behaviour that controls or dominates a person and causes them to fear for their own or others’ safety and wellbeing.
Most people use the terms Family and Domestic Abuse or Violence synonymously. Most judiciaries consider, when the abuse is perpetrated by close family members or 'trusted' others, to also fall under this definition.
At impact, we prefer the term Relationship Violence to also include 'trusted others' including close family friends, doctors, teachers and clergy. On this website, we use the three terms - Family, Domestic and Relationship Violence or Abuse - interchangeably.
Relationship Abuse is not just about hitting, stabbing, choking, burning or killing... although these and other forms of physical violence is one of the most dangerous form of violence often leading to physical injury or death.
Relationship Abuse can include:
What's the line between 'Normal Relationship Disagreements' and 'Relationship Abuse'?
Disagreements are a normal part of a healthy relationship but both people should be able to put forward their different points of view or concerns and feel comfortable discussing them together.
In healthy relationships, both parties treat each other with respect and try to overcome their problems and disagreements.
However, in a relationship where Relationship Abuse occurs, the situation is very different. One person in the relationship feels threatened - too frightened to argue back or too scared to disagree or express his/her opinion. If someone is using intimidation, manipulation, violence and/or fear to control the other person, it is abuse!
Violating someone's sense of security and safety, is abuse! Abusing a family member, friend or someone you have a close or trusted relationship with, is Relationship Abuse! Relationship Abuse is a crime.