What is family and domestic violence?

According to the Department for Child Protection and Family Support, family and domestic violence is the intentional and systematic use of violence and abuse to create fear and to control the victim's behaviour.

The term domestic violence usually refers to abuse against an intimate partner, while family violence is a broader expression encompassing domestic violence and the abuse of children, the elderly and other family members.

'Family and domestic violence' is used to describe abuse and violence that take place in relationships including: intimate partner relationships, same sex relationships, between siblings, from adolescents to parents, or from family carers to a relative, or a relative with a disability.

There are seven broad categories of abuse that are usually referred to when discussing family and domestic violence including sexual assault, physical assault, verbal abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, social isolation financial abuse and spiritual abuse.

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How do I know that I am in a family and domestic violence situation?

Here are some of the forms that family and domestic violence may take:

Physical - If someone is hurting you (pushing, slapping, punching, choking, kicking) or threatening to hurt you, a loved one or a pet.

Sexual - being forced into sexual contact or sexual activity.  In this context, "forced" also refers to not being in a position to say No as a result of fear, threats or intimidation.

Emotional/psychological - This form of violence is often unrecognised and can be very hurtful.  Mind games, manipulation, threats, humiliation, put-downs, shouting, being made to feel worthless or no good – these are some of the types of emotional or psychological abuse.

Economic/financial - Having money and being able to make decisions about it, is one means of being independent. If someone is taking, stealing or controlling your money, keeping you financially dependent, or making you ask for money unreasonably, then this is a form of violence

Social - Social violence occurs in relationships that often include other forms of violence. If someone is insulting you or teasing you in front of other people, keeping you isolated from family, friends and work, controlling what you do and where you go, then they are being violent and you may need to take some action

Spiritual - This type of violence involves a situation where you are not allowed to go to your place of worship; not allowed to  have your own opinions about religion, cultural beliefs, and values; your spirituality is manipulated to keep you feeling powerless or you are forced to participate in religious practice you do want to be involved with.

(This information is adapted from information provided at the Department for Child Protection and Family Support and ReachOut.com)

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How do I get into a Starick refuge?

Starick's crisis accommodation can be accessed by phoning the 24-hour phone number – 08 9458 1107.  Women can phone direct or through Crisis Care on 08 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008 (country free call).

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What can I take with me to the refuge?

If you have the time, you should take:

  • Essential clothing and personal items for yourself and your children
  • Any medications you or your children are taking
  • Identification, such as birth certificates, children's immunisation records, any Department of Housing documentation, legal documents, passports and visa information you may have.

Sometimes when women are not able to bring the above items with them, our workers can assist them to retrieve important items from their property with Police assistance.

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Can I bring my pet to the refuge?

Unfortunately pets cannot be brought to the refuges.  The Cat Haven may be able to offer temporary accommodation for cats. This is decided case-by-case and depends on space.  Contact the Cat Haven:

23 Lemnos St, Shenton Park
Phone 9442 3600

Temporary care of dogs may be available through the Pat Giles Centre's Safe Families Safe Pets (SFSP) Program.  For more information, visit the SFSP website or phone 9300 0340.

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How long can I stay at the refuge?

Women and children are able to stay up to three months.  This gives time to sort out income and legal issues and to find alternative accommodation.

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What should I do if someone I know is experiencing family or domestic violence?

(From The Patricia Giles Centre)

If someone you know is in immediate danger call the Police on 000.

If someone you know is experiencing family or domestic violence, the most important thing you can do is to listen without judging, respect the person's decisions, and help them find ways to become stronger and safer. More information.

Things you can say to the victim:

  • I believe you
  • You do not deserve to be abused
  • I am afraid for your safety and the safety of your children
  • Do you need help to find out what services are available?

To report an incident of family and domestic violence call the Police on 131 444. People with hearing impairments can call TTY 106.

Questions the Police may ask you:

  • The address where the incident is taking place
  • Your name and telephone number
  • The offender's name, age and date of birth
  • Are there any weapons involved? Are you able to describe them?
  • What's the victim's name?

If the incident is occurring while you are talking to the operator, stay on the telephone. Your safety is paramount to the Police.

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How does witnessing domestic violence affect children?

Domestic and family violence can affect children in many ways.  It can affect their behaviours, development, physical health, relationships, emotions, learning and cognitions.   How quickly and completely children recover depends on many factors including their individual personalities and strengths.

Learn more about how witnessing domestic violence affects children.

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What other services are available?

Domestic Violence Legal Unit   The Legal Aid WA Domestic Violence Legal Unit assists women who are experiencing domestic violence.

The Family Violence Service   Provides information and support in dealing with violence in intimate or family relationships. Family Violence Services are located in Perth, Armadale, Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland and Rockingham.

Sexual Assault Resource Centre  SARC provides counselling to people who have been sexually assaulted or sexually abused.

Kids Helpline

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