What is Family Violence?
The term "Family violence" may mean different things to different people.
Family Violence is the term used in several other states and territories in Australia to refer to "domestic violence" or "intimate partner abuse".
Family Violence also encompasses abuse that occurs in the family context (ie siblings, parents, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles).
Family Violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people prefer to use the term "family violence" when referring to intimate partner abuse.
The Australian Human Rights Commission uses the following framework to describe a broad definition of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It says,
- Family violence involves any use of force, be it physical or non-physical, which is aimed at controlling another family or community member and which undermines that person’s well-being. It can be directed towards an individual, family, community or particular group. Family violence is not limited to physical forms of abuse, and also includes cultural and spiritual abuse. There are interconnecting and trans-generational experiences of violence within Indigenous families and communities.
- There are significant deficiencies in the availability of statistics and research on the extent and nature of family violence in communities. What data exists suggests that Indigenous peoples suffer violence, including family violence, at significantly higher rates than other Australians do. This situation has existed for at least the past two decades with no identifiable improvement.
- Indigenous women’s experience of discrimination and violence is bound up in the colour of their skin as well as their gender. The identity of many Indigenous women is bound to their experience as Indigenous people. Rather than sharing a common experience of sexism binding them with non-Indigenous women, this may bind them more to their community, including the men of the community.
- Strategies for addressing family violence in Indigenous communities need to acknowledge that a consequence of this is that an Indigenous woman ‘may be unable or unwilling to fragment their identity by leaving the community, kin, family or partners’ as a solution to the violence.
Family Violence in other communities