Family violence is the distressing, disturbing and dangerous side of couple and family relationships. The issues behind a relationship becoming violent are complex and take courage to face.

Violence in intimate relationships has long been ignored by the community and left to individuals to suffer and struggle with on their own. This is gradually changing with public campaigns and greater efforts being made to expose the issue. There is more and more awareness of the damaging impact on children.

Violence and abuse in relationships can take many forms. Physical abuse is the most obvious but violence may also take the form of sexual, emotional and financial abuse.

Recognising and seeking help for abusive behaviour in a relationship can be difficult because with the acknowledgment of the need for help, can come feelings of shame and failure. It might also feel dangerous and careful consideration needs to be given to where and how help is sought.

Relationship counsellors are trained to address violence and abuse.  An assessment that considers the safety of each person involved is the first priority. Sometimes relationship counselling is not recommended as a first step, and addressing the violent behaviours is necessary before a couple may freely engage in therapy. Counsellors may recommend a specific course of action and refer to programs that are designed to assist in the most appropriate way.

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Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732