Do you feel safe at home?
Information for nurses, midwives and carers

The ANMF takes the health and welfare of our members seriously. In 2020 we asked our members about their experience of family violence and many of them told us that that they do not feel safe at home, that they are controlled, threatened, live in fear or hurt by family members.

Family violence is when your spouse, partner, ex, carer, family member or someone you’re in a family-like relationship with uses threatening, controlling or violent behaviour that makes you scared for your own safety and wellbeing, or afraid for the safety and wellbeing of someone else, such as your child or children.

Family violence can affect anyone, regardless of sex, age, race, sexuality, disability, gender and lifestyle. It can occur in all types of families, including in LGBTIQA+ families. It can also occur across generations, such as by teenagers against their parents, by adults against their elderly parents or between siblings.

Family violence includes many types of behaviours used control or have power over someone else. Family violence doesn’t always involve physical abuse.

Family violence is always a choice made by the person using the violence and control. It is not your fault.

It is never okay for someone to:

  • control where you go or who you speak to
  • physically attack or hurt you
  • verbally abuse you
  • threaten you or your loved ones, including a pet
  • limit your access to necessities, including healthcare, transport or food
  • stalk or monitor you, including online
  • force you to do sexual things you don’t want to do
  • put you down, or humiliate you
  • control your finances and financial decisions
  • threaten to take away children
  • isolate you from friends and family
  • use your visa status to threaten or control you
  • stop you from practising religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs and rituals
  • make you feel scared to say ‘no’

Family violence is not always easy to identify because the violence is often not physical. All partners, family members and others in close relationships disagree or argue from time to time, even within a healthy relationship. When disagreements and arguments become a consistent pattern and you feel fear or controlled, you may be experiencing family violence.

It can be scary, confronting and upsetting to realise that you might be experiencing family violence, especially if you have never spoken to anyone else about it or if, when you did talk to someone in the past, you were not believed or supported.

There are many family violence counsellors you can talk to who can provide information and support and who can discuss what you can do so you and your family are safe. This violence is not your fault and you are not alone.