The Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse is a national resource on issues of domestic violence and family violence, including a state-based directory of resources, research database, news, links etc.

Children and young people

Children experience serious emotional, psychological, social, behavioural and developmental consequences as a result of experiencing violence. Infants and young children are especially at risk.

  • Perpetrators often attack the mother-child relationship and use children in committing violence, such as threats to harm the children.
  • Children continue to be at risk from the effects of violence during and after parents’ separation.

The Better Health Channel provides the following information on domestic violence and children

These tips may help children learn more about how to stay safe, types of violence, what to do, where and how to get help if they or someone they love is being abused.

This website – Bursting the bubble – helps you young people and children to work out what’s okay in a family and what’s not. It tells them what they can do if someone in theirr family is hurting or abusing them or another member of their family.

This paper – The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Infants – from the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse provides key statistics on the prevalence of children’s exposure to domestic violence and its impacts on their wellbeing.

This review examines the literature in general and the recent Australia studies of family law legislation to explore the impacts on children who are affected by domestic violence, and provides recommendations for generalist social service practitioners working with these families. The impact of Domestic Violence on Children: A literature Review conducted for the Benevolent Society

Women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds

Many people affected by domestic and family violence experience shame and fear which prevent them reporting abuse and are exposed to risks when they take action to end the violence. For victims from immigrant and refugee backgrounds, the situation can often be more complex. For these women, disclosure and help seeking can be complicated by factors relating to culture, religion, language, past refugee experiences, current settlement experiences, a lack of access to appropriate services and an absence of family or friends for support.

This Fast Facts paper from the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse highlights key issues for immigrant and refugee victims and common recommendations from the literature on how to improve their access to justice, services and protection.

This paper from the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault – Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victims/survivors of sexual violence: Challenges and opportunities for practitioners – discusses issues for women from refugee and migrant backgrounds who are survivors of sexual assault. It considers their experience of migration in the context of continuing trauma, as well as personal and system barriers they may face in trying access support. The paper is aimed at raising awareness among workers, as well as the general community and is of value to practitioners who provide support to refugee and immigrant women in a broad range of service areas including health, housing and education.

Indigenous women

In Australia, the rate and severity of domestic and family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is recognised as a critical challenge by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.  Such violence plays a significant role in the morbidity and mortality of Indigenous people. Women bear the brunt of the violence, with Indigenous women 35 times more likely to suffer family violence and sustain serious injuring requiring hospitalisation, and 10 times more likely to die due to family violence, than non-Indigenous women.

This paper from the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse – Domestic and family violence in Indigenous communities – examines attitudes and experiences regarding help-seeking by Aboriginal people affected by family violence, particularly in relation to the close-knit nature of Aboriginal communities.

‘Family violence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ presents information on the extent of violence (in particular family violence) in the Indigenous population, using existing surveys and administrative data collections. Information is presented on the prevalence of violence, associated harm and services for victims of violence, as well as on those in contact with the criminal justice system.

Domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships:

Studies indicate that domestic and family violence occur at relatively the same rate in same sex relationships as in heterosexual relationships. While victims of same sex intimate partner violence may experience the same forms of abuse that heterosexual victims experience, they may be subject to additional threats and abuse related to their sexuality or gender, such as ‘outing’ to family, friends and others. They may experience specific challenges around help-seeking, such as combating homophobia or a lack of services.

Same-sex domestic violence also refers to abuse in the context of same gender relationships. Transgender people (who may identify as gay/lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual or other sexualities) and bisexual people may experience domestic violence in the context of same-gender or opposite gender relationships. Transgender and bisexual people may experience domestic violence in different ways and have to deal with different challenges when accessing services. However, many of the experiences of abuse and barriers to services would also be relevant for transgender and bisexual people

This paper – Domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships – from the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, provides an overview of domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships. It discusses the barriers to seeking help, homophobia and misconceptions, and their implications for service provision.

This kit – GLBTIQ Domestic Violence Toolkit – is designed to be a resource for agencies and service providers supporting GLBTI victims of domestic violence and their families.

Women with disabilities

Women with disabilities experience violence at greater rates than other women, yet their access to domestic violence services is more limited. This limitation is mirrored in domestic violence sector standards, which often fail to include the specific issues for women with disabilities. This article has a dual focus: to outline a set of internationally transferrable standards for inclusive practice with women with disabilities affected by domestic violence; and report on the results of a documentary analysis of domestic violence service standards, codes of practice, and practice guidelines.

The following resource – Improving access for women with disabilities to domestic violence services in the ACT: Good practice principles – was created from the findings of the Women’s Centre for Health Matters project Women with Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services in the ACT, which aimed to assist domestic violence/crisis services in the ACT to better support women with disabilities. The project included auditing the services’ accessibility for women with disabilities, identifying the barriers and gaps, and developing a set of good practice principles for improving access for women with disabilities.

This paper- Shh!! we’re “keeping mum” – an examination of the profound silence about Domestic Violence which persists for women with disabilities’ – examines the factors which predispose women with disabilities to an experience of higher levels of domestic violence than any other population group.

This paper – ‘Behind Closed Doors: Who would believe me?’ was written by WWDA’s Vice President, Margie Charlesworth, and explores the issue of the credibility afforded to women with communication impairments who report that they are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Copyright WWDA May 2013.