We’re all on the countdown to the holiday season with many of us daydreaming about beach getaways, festive food and lazy days at home or away.
We might be visiting family, or we might be on our own. We might be welcoming back a partner from a long deployment. But sometimes behind the celebrations and festivities there can be a darker side to the holiday season.
In Australia, reports of family and domestic violence increase considerably during December and January.
The Defence community is not immune to this.
During holidays, the dynamics within household situations are often altered. There could be increased financial and family pressures. Sometimes after long periods of work or absences from home the adjustment period can be challenging. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs can inflame already tense situations.
Despite all of these circumstances, family and domestic violence is never acceptable.
What is the definition of Domestic Violence?
Defence has developed its first Defence Family and Domestic Violence Strategy for 2017–2022
This document defines family and domestic violence as conduct that is violent, threatening, coercive, controlling or intended to cause the family or household member to be fearful.
It can include but is not limited to:
- physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse
- controlling money
- harm to an animal or property
- restricting spiritual or cultural participation
- exposing children to the effects of these behaviours
Defence families, as a result of posting, may not always have close family/friend support in the same location. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship that you need to end, please know that there is always support available.
No one should ever have to feel disrespected or unsafe in any relationship.
If you feel unsafe, it is important to let someone know.
Defence can assist ADF families with emergency accommodation in situations when family members can’t remain in their home for safety reasons, through the Special Accommodation for Emergencies (SAFE) scheme. SAFE is accessed through the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.
If the alleged perpetrator of the violence is the serving member, Defence may arrange to have that member accommodated elsewhere..
People experiencing domestic or family violence may:
- Suddenly stop going out with no reason
- Worry a lot about making a particular person angry
- Make a lot of excuses for someone’s negative behaviour
- Have marks or injuries on their body that can’t be explained
- Stop spending time with friends and family
- Seem scared or wary around a particular person
- Seem worried that they are being watched, followed or controlled in some way
The Daisy App has a list of domestic violence contacts and resources for all states and territories. It’s handy for you to have on your phone for yourself or to support someone you know.
For more on what to do if your relationship breaks down with regards to Defence see our recent blog post.
If you think you are in immediate danger, please call 000 now.
Important numbers for support
Defence Family Helpline 1800 624 608
Call the Defence Family Helpline at any time (24/7). This helpline is staffed by qualified human service professionals who can provide emotional support as well as explore options of support with you and or your partner.
1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732
Call the national counselling service for 24-hour phone support for those effected by family violence. You can go to the 1800 RESPECT website and chat with someone online.
Defence Service Centre 1800 333 362
Chaplains are available over the holiday period.
To contact a Chaplain please call the Defence Service Centre on 1800 333 362 and ask for the Duty Chaplain in your area.
Go to the Defence Community Organisation Factsheet on Family and Domestic Violence.