What is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence takes different forms and is also commonly known as:

  • Family violence
  • Relationship violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse

It is a pattern of abusive behaviour whereby a person seeks to control and dominate another person.

Intimate partner violence does not take the form of a single incident. It is ongoing behaviour that gradually undermines the victim’s confidence. The severity and frequency of violence often escalates over time.

This violence takes many forms, none of which is mutually exclusive. While physical violence may be the most visible form, others such as sexual, verbal, emotional, social, spiritual and economic abuse can be equally harmful. Examples include:

  • Isolating a victim from family and friends
  • Controlling their access to money
  • Diminishing their self-esteem
  • Preventing them from practising their religious beliefs
  • Intimidating them
  • Threatening them

Intimate partner violence is common in Australia. It is complex, and different from other forms of interpersonal violence.

(From: The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Australia)


At Yemaya, we define domestic/family violence or intimate partner violence as the abuse of power by one person over another which occurs in ANY of the following ways:

  • Verbal
  • Physical 
  • Psychological
  • Economic
  • Social abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Spiritual or religious
  • Harrassement & stalking
  • Cyber & image-based

The great majority of domestic/family violence survivors are women. Yemaya Women’s Support Service is for women only.

We believe:

  • A woman’s view of her past, present and future
  • Domestic/family violence is a crime
  • Domestic/family violence is an abuse of power
  • Domestic/family violence is an issue for the whole community, it is a matter of public concern and action
  • Violence is always unacceptable and is never justified
  • Women have a right to be safe
  • Domestic/family violence or abuse is a reflection of the inequalities in society. Domestic/family violence does not happen because of poor impulses or anger control

No person has the right to threaten or physically assault another. Violence can take many forms and is not only physical violence.

Read related fact sheets

“The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious. In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man’s emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm.”