Domestic and Family Emotional Abuse & Violence

If you are experiencing, or have experienced domestic and family abuse or violence it can be difficult to talk about it, even with family and friends. You might feel ashamed or unsafe, or think nobody understands. It can be helpful to talk about it with a psychologist who understands the nature of domestic and family conflict. Foundation Psychology Victoria provides confidential, individual, short-term counselling which can focus on:

  • addressing immediate safety and risk concerns
  • domestic violence education
  • exploring options
  • goal setting
  • supporting positive emotional health and well-being.

We provide services for:

  • Women or men who are experiencing domestic abuse or violence
  • Children of families who have experienced domestic abuse or violence
  • The entire family through family therapy
  • Perpetrators of domestic violence
  • Couples

We understand that there are many forms of domestic and family abuse.

Most domestic violence is invisible. You don’t have to have bruises or have been physically assaulted to be terrified, trapped and scared in your own home. Whether you are experiencing physical or emotional abuse, our counselling services can help you.

Types of family violence and emotional abuse

Verbal abuse

This can include insults, constant put-downs, name calling and yelling, being told that are unattractive, inferior, incompetent or that you don’t have the ability to cope or succeed on your own.

Emotional/Psychological abuse

Emotional/psychological abuse occurs when you are made to feel scared, intimidated, insane, stupid or worthless. Examples include threats to harm or kill you, or to abduct or harm children, threatening with guns or other weapons, criticism, hurting or killing pets, denying or minimising the abuse and blaming you for it. Doing things to confuse you, withholding important information or not including you in important decision-making can also be forms of emotional abuse.

Physical abuse

An abuser can use physical force against you in the form of slapping, pushing, hitting, punching, choking, physically holding you to keep you from leaving, twisting limbs, throwing objects at you, using weapons, destroying or damaging property, and/or disposing of belongings without consent. It can be actual or attempted, with the intent to injure, control or make you frightened.

Social abuse

Any form of behaviour that isolates you from family or friends, is recognised as social abuse. it can be about criticising or being suspicious of your family and friends, controlling your use of mobiles, phones and internet, and use of the family car, deliberately physically isolating you in your home or making you move away from family and friends, and demanding to know where you and who you are with at all times.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse involves controlling your money by denying access to bank accounts, forcing the surrender of bankcards and credit cards to gain control of your income preventing you from seeking or maintaining employment and denying you any input into financial decisions. Financial abuse can also include making you ask for money for basic items such as food, petrol and clothing, and forcing you to provide receipts to account for your spending.

Damage to property

This occurs when the house, household furniture or anything else that you own or use is purposefully damaged or broken.  It could include breaking items in your kitchen like plates and cups, breaking children’s’ toys, kicking or punching holes in walls or damaging your car. This kind of abuse is designed to intimidate and frighten you.


Stalking is intended to intimidate and harass you. It can include following you to your work or place of study, home or when you’re out in public. It can be about the abuser physically watching you, calling, texting, emailing,using social media (such as signing into your Facebook or twitter accounts).  It may also involve your family and friends being harassed and intimidated.

Technological abuse

This is an emerging form of abuse that is linked to stalking, psychological abuse and other forms of domestic violence. It can mean that technology is used to directly or indirectly monitor and stalk you. This can sometimes occur without your knowing, such as personal information being posted on Facebook or other social media and tracking devices being installed in cars and mobile phones.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse includes any forced or unwanted sexual activity including rape. Unwanted kissing or touching, or forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do (eg. looking at pornography) is also sexual abuse. Humiliation can often play a part in sexual abuse.

Your personal BILL OF RIGHTS

Sometimes we’ve been living in a situation for so long that we forget that have rights. Have a look at the list below and if you find that your rights are being violated this is a sure sign that things need to change.

  • You have the right to be you.
  • You have the right to put yourself first.
  • You have the right to be safe.
  • You have the right to love and be loved.
  • You have the right to be treated with respect.
  • You have the right to be human – NOT PERFECT.
  • You have the right to be angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or abusively by anyone.
  • You have the right to your own privacy.
  • You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken seriously.
  • You have the right to earn and control your own money.
  • You have the right to ask questions about anything that affects your life.
  • You have the right to make decisions that affect you.
  • You have the right to grow and change (and that includes changing your mind).
  • You have the right to say NO.
  • You have the right to make mistakes.
  • You have the right NOT to be responsible for other adults’ problems.
  • You have the right not to be liked by everyone.