Domestic violence is often ignored by the victim and “swept under the rug”. Unfortunately, domestic violence only gets worse and doesn’t go away on its own.
Unhealthy relationships often start with love, friendship, trust and loyalty. During the relationship, one of the couple (“the Bully”) takes the power, becomes possessive and demands control with an increase in co-dependence. When the relationship ends, the Victim experiences threats, humiliation, isolation, intimidation, violation (physical/sexual) and a great lack of independence (financial, physical and more). The victim starts to fear, have anxiety, guilt, low self-esteem and feel “trapped” and unable to leave their spouse.
Domestic violence has a vast scope including effects to physical, emotional, social, psychological and economic wellbeing. It can come in the forms of harassment, intimidation, stalking, cyber-bullying, physical and sexual assault, verbal/physical/emotional abuse to people and pets and damage to personal and joint property.
Unfortunately, no specific rule of thumb can be found to support how many calls, messages, emails or contact points in a particular time period is considered harassment.
Domestic violence and harassment has everything to do with how it makes you feel. Take action if you are experiencing any of the following:
If you are experiencing harassment, intimidation, bullying, stalking, domestic violence or other unsavoury inflictions:
If you have to deal with the person that is causing you grief, for instance your ex-spouse, it is recommended that you avoid directly communicating with each other (ie: do not phone each other and don’t have conversations in person), keep interactions in a public space, be careful and mindful of what you say. If your ex-spouse does start acting up, do not retaliate. Retaliation only causes the situation to continue or escalate.
The police are allies to victims of harassment and domestic violence. Ensure that you are known to your Domestic Violence Officer. Don’t be afraid to contact the Police or your local Police Station if you are at all concerned for the safety of you and your child(ren). The Police can instigate interim and emergency Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) or Domestic Violence Order (DVO) at short notice if required. AVOs or DVOs help to restrict the behaviours of the offending person allowing you to have some legal recourse against their actions. Should the offender breach the terms of the AVO or DVO, report it to the Police.
If you are exposed to domestic violence in any form, it is likely that you will want to be very particular and specific with Parenting Plans/Orders. It is also guaranteed that your ex-spouse will be strongly opinionated in the Parenting Orders and this may conflict your plan. By reporting situations to the Police, you will have a reputable third party account of the events and activities that have taken place offering greater weight to your case if it ends up in Family Court.
You can’t begin to be happy and free until the other party is forced to review their behaviour by a third party. Be brave – Show your child(ren) that you can stand up for yourself and that you will not allow any person to treat you or them in such a detrimental way.
If you are experiencing any of the above issues and would like more information, Divorce Answered has a comprehensive E-book “How to best separate: Domestic Violence”