If there is an immediate threat to your safety call emergency 000.

We've partnered with Kristy McKellar (KM Consulting Services) on this content, an expert in family violence and social change.

Domestic and family violence is a pattern of behaviour that tries to control another person in a family relationship. The family relationship can be between people of the same or opposite sex, a parent and a child, siblings and other relatives.

Different types of violence

Physical violence is just one form of violence we usually associate with domestic and family violence. Here are some examples of other forms of violence to be aware of:

  • financial abuse like restricting your access to money, or forcing you to take out debt you don't want
  • emotional abuse
  • psychological or mental abuse, like playing mind games
  • threats to harm you or others, including pets
  • sexual violence
  • forcing isolation from friends and family
  • stalking
  • physical assault
  • not allowing you to practice your religion
  • manipulative behaviour, like threatening suicide if you leave the relationship.

Tips to recognise the signs of domestic and family violence

Someone experiencing domestic and family violence may show one or more of these signs in social and work situations. This is not a definitive or exhaustive list of what an observer may notice. Examples may include:

  • A change in voice, or one that is raspy or croaky, from strangulation.
  • Wears long clothing (tops, skirts, pants) on a hot day.
  • Weight loss.
  • Folded arms or side-on stature.
  • Bruises - although often calculated assaults occur and the victim survivor is able to cover injuries with clothing.
  • Withdrawn personality and social disengagement.
  • Often irate and emotional, or having an emotional response that’s out of the ordinary.
  • A heightened sense of adrenaline, always busy or reluctant to engage in conversation.
  • Constant down playing of the situation or makes excuses.
  • Evidence of jealous behaviour, such as attending a branch or workplace to check on a partner, excessively calling the office phone or a mobile.
  • A lot of unusual sick days, and then attending the doctor or hospital as violence escalates in severity.
  • Signs of anxiety when finishing work or taking lunch breaks, which may be a sign of physical or technology stalking.
  • A cycle of days off work sick, with visible bruising or injuries, and then receiving gifts or flowers.
  • Experiencing threats to kill or use of a weapon.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is a form of domestic and family violence where the abuser uses money or finances to control the other person.

The most common forms of financial abuse include:

  • Someone being forced to take on debt they don’t want.
  • Withholding or threatening to withhold a reasonable amount of money (for example, what’s needed to be able to run the household).
  • Stopping access to money so the other person can’t leave the relationship.
  • Transferring the house or other assets out of the person’s name.
  • Trying to ruin a person’s credit rating by not paying debts.

Financial abuse is a crime in most states of Australia. The Australian Government’s MoneySmart website has a range of information about financial abuse and how to get support. Access more information on financial abuse and learn how to keep your banking safe.

Support Services

Financial hardship

If you're having difficulties making your payments, call NAB Assist on 1800 701 599, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm (AEST/AEDT) or 9am-1pm on Saturdays.


The National Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Counselling Service, offers confidential online and telephone counselling, information and referral services.

Visit 1800RESPECT or you can call 1800 737 732, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Experiencing violence? Here’s how we can help

Domestic and family violence is a very complex and personal issue, and we’re here to support you.

Is your behaviour violent or abusive? Get help now

Violence is never acceptable. If you, or someone you know, are prone to violence, there is help available.

Financial abuse and keeping your banking safe

If you’re experiencing financial abuse there are ways to keep your finances safe.

Domestic and family violence support services

Get support from organisations like these specialising in domestic and family violence services and related issues