Domestic violence is one of the most under reported crimes in the western world and in Australia is considered a crime punishable by law.
The rates of domestic violence in Australia are increasing each year as more women and men are experiencing violence in their relationships.
However, many people feel embarrassed by their situation and often feel powerless to do anything about it or, they don’t identify the relationship they are in as being abusive. This sometimes happens because people become accustomed to the style of interaction in their relationship and feel afraid to challenge it for fear of further violence or reprisal.
Also common is a limited understanding of what constitutes domestic and family violence which includes abuses that are verbal, psychological, emotional, social, financial, physical, sexual, harassment and stalking in nature.
Verbal abuse is defined as but not limited to:
- Swearing or verbally threatening either in public or private; and
- Verbal attacks that focus on personal capacities as a partner, parent, and attacks based on gender, intelligence, body image or sexuality.
Psychological abuse is defined as but not limited to:
- Threatening behaviours to imply that police and other support services cannot help you and will not believe you;
- Driving dangerously to create fear;
- Abuse of other family members or pets ; and
- Making threats regarding the safety and custody of children or pets.
Emotional abuse is defined as but not limited to:
- Withdrawal of and engagement for days or weeks at a time (often described as the ‘silent treatment’);
- Asserting blame for all the problems in relationship;
- Withholding of affection; and
- Threatening suicide or blackmail as a way of asserting dominance.
Social abuse is defined as but not limited to:
- Systematic isolation from friends and family, reducing the circle of support for an individual who then becomes forced to rely on their spouse as their only interpersonal contact;
- Controlling and / or restricting movements outside of the home; and
- Restricting use of mobile phone, email or family vehicle.
Financial abuse is defined as but not limited to:
- Removal of or restriction to access to bank accounts;
- Providing an inadequate allowance of money for personal use;
- Preventing the seeking or participation in employment; and
- Taking control of earnings from employment with no access allowed.
Physical abuse is defined as but not limited to:
- Direct physical assaults on the body;
- Assault of other family members;
- Locking victim and / or their children out of the family home;
- Sleep deprivation; and
- Forced drug and alcohol use.
Sexual abuse is defined as but not limited to:
- Non-consensual sexual acts forced upon the victim;
- Violence during acts of sex;
- Forced unsafe sex;
- Forcing an individual to perform sex acts that they do not want to perform; and
- Verbal abuse that is sexualised in content.
Harassment and Stalking
Harassment and Stalking abuses are defined as but not limited to:
- Multiple phone calls and emails;
- Online harassment in social media (Facebook, Twitter)
- Appearing in places uninvited; and
- Intimating behaviours such as following and watching.
Working with Louise Spencer
Louise responds to all new client enquiries personally and discreetly which is underpinned by her firm commitment to working with both men and women in a client centred therapeutic environment.
You can be assured that engaging with Louise to talk about abuse and / or violence in your relationship will be a safe process as her priority will be the assessment of your psychological and physical safety and wellbeing. Your disclosures will be treated in the strictest confidence and handled with discretion.
Louise can offer individual counselling and support and her skills as an accredited mediator will also be engaged in the event that an individual chooses to introduce their partner, spouse or significant other into the therapeutic process.
Louise will work with you to develop a range of strategies to maintain your safety whilst you work together to determine a course of action to manage your exit from a relationship or to repair it.