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A person always has a choice in how they behave in a relationship. A person who is abusive and uses violence in their relationship has made a choice to do so.
Physical and sexual violence aren't the only types of abuse. If you have:
then you are being psychologically and verbally abusive towards your partner or the children or both. There are also other types of abuse, including financial, emotional, spiritual, reproductive and image-based abused.
Each of us makes choices about how we act. Blaming your choice to use violence on 'you lost control', had too many drinks, or were stressed about work or money worries is a way of avoiding responsibility for the violence. Most people who are violent in their family relationships don't often act violent, abusive and controlling outside of the home.
You might even do or say things to avoid or reduce responsibility for your behaviour, such as:
There is no excuse for using violence in your intimate or family relationships. No one deserves to be hurt or scared of you and what you might do. Not your partner, not the children, or anyone else in your family.
If you're being abusive towards your partner, the hardest thing to do is admit is that your behaviour is wrong. Admitting responsibility for your abusive, controlling and violent behaviour takes strength and courage. It's a good first step to ending the abuse and violence.
Getting professional help to learn new ways of having a healthy relationship with your partner is the next step. Changing abusive behaviour will take time and will challenge the beliefs you held that justified your behaviour. You can't do this alone but with help, courage and determination, you can change and learn how to treat your partner with respect.
By learning to understand and be better aware of your emotions, you'll be able to recognise when you feel like you're losing control. And you'll be able to make a decision to respond in a more respectful way, without violence.
Remember that using violence is always a choice. You are responsible for how you act and behave. Here are some of the ways you can change your behaviour starting now:
Stop using violence and abuse - You can STOP. THINK. TALK or JUST WALK AWAY before things get out of control. Remove yourself from the situation so you won't hurt someone or cause damage.
Make a commitment to change. Changing your behaviour will take time, effort, persistence and patience. Be prepared to do the hard work it takes to make your relationships with your loved ones healthier.
Think about how your abusive and violent behaviour has affected your partner, your family, your children. Focus on accepting responsibility for how seriously you have hurt the people you love.
Realise that your violent and abusive behaviour affects your children. Children and young people are severely affected when they witness domestic and family violence. Even if you try to shield them, they often see or hear what is happening and will react with distress, anxiety, shame, anger and depression.
Accept the consequences of your actions. Your partner has the right to get help from police or the courts because domestic and family violence is a crime. You may face legal consequences for using violence and abuse, either with jail time or a restraining order, such as an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).
Get professional help. You can't go this alone. It's important to get professional help. There are services and good programs that will help you stop your abusive and violent behaviours and create better relationships.
If you are concerned about your behaviour or you want to find a program that will help you change your abusive and violent behaviour, there are services that can help you.
Men's Referral Service provides telephone counselling, information and referrals to men to help them take action to stop using violent and controlling behaviour. The service is open 24/7 and you can talk to them anonymously and confidentially or use the live chat.
Men's Referral Service
1300 766 491
MensLine Australia is a 24-hour support service that can help with domestic and family violence. It offers telephone anger management and behavioural change programs, as well as online counselling. Call 1300 78 99 78 or visit the MensLine website for more information.
The Men & Family Centre offers group programs and counselling for men who want to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour. The Men & Family Centre runs groups each week in Lismore, Byron, Ballina, Casino and Kyogle.
BaptistCare offers counselling and programs in Bankstown, Campbelltown and the Central Coast for men who want to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour.
Relationships Australia provides counselling, support and courses to reduce violence and increase safety in families. They have specialised programs for aggressors who want to change their behaviour.
Kids Helpline is a 24-hour counselling service for people under 25 years old. Call if you want to talk about violence or abuse in relationships or use the online counselling service.
If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer, read Do you hurt the people you care about? You can contact No To Violence and ACON for help and information.
No to Violence
1300 766 491
1800 063 060
Sydney 9206 2000
Newcastle 4962 7700
Lismore 6622 1555
09 May 2023
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.
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