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    The Impact of Domestic Violence on Your Mental Health

    31/10/18 5:30 PM

    Domestic violence is a form of violence that occurs within a relationship. There are a wide range of activities that fall within domestic violence and the effects are far reaching. As lawyers we see the real and deep impact that domestic violence has, especially on the mental health of our clients and their children. We encourage anyone who has gone through any type of violence to reach out to professional help and speak to a counsellor.

    You can be a victim of domestic violence whether you are in a de facto relationship, a husband, a wife or a child. Often victims of domestic violence do not realise they are in an abusive relationship until they have left, as it can be very difficult to spot the symptoms. This is because domestic violence usually occurs in a cycle of a build-up, explosion and then regret and remorse, often with victim blaming.

    Domestic violence is a range of things and includes:

    1. Physical Abuse: Bodily contact intended to cause pain or fear.
      1. This can also include sleep deprivation or forcing a person to take drugs/alcohol.
    2. Emotional or Psychological or Mental Abuse: Behaviour designed to lower self-esteem.
      1. This can be humiliating a partner, withholding information, blackmail (implicit or explicit), isolating a partner, and even denying access to necessities.
    3. Economic Abuse or Control: Control over a partner’s finances.
      1. This can include withholding money, preventing a partner from working or limiting an allowance.
    4. Verbal Abuse: Behaviour using words designed to intimidate and threaten.
    5. Sexual Abuse: Any kind of unwanted sexual activity forced upon a partner.
    6. Stalking: Unwanted attention including invasion of privacy such as reading emails.
    7. Spiritual Abuse: Denying or ridiculing someone’s religious beliefs or forcing them to partake in another’s religious beliefs.

    Naturally a cycle of abuse can cause a victim to develop anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. If you have experienced domestic violence it can be difficult while in the relationship to seek help, and often you may think it is your fault.

    It is never your fault.

    The WayAhead Directory offers a list of mental health related services in NSW, which are designed to help you regardless of whether you wish to separate or not.

    If you think you cannot afford assistance in your mental health we suggest that you contact your GP to discuss a mental health plan to subsidise your care. Your mental health is one of the most important things you have and we encourage you to seek professional help where possible.

    If you are considering or going through a separation and would like to know your options in light of domestic violence, then contact us here for a confidential free first conference to discuss your options.

    Andrea Harrold

    Written by Andrea Harrold