Health and wellbeing

Understanding and speaking out about domestic violence

Join a free online talk with award-winning author Jess Hill and learn more about the signs and impacts of domestic violence

Holding hands, Getty Images
Holding hands

Jess Hill’s book See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse has sparked new and urgent conversations on domestic violence around the world.

Hear the award-winning author and investigative journalist talk more about this important topic in a free online talk on Wednesday 2 December from 1pm to 2pm.

This talk coincides with the UN’s 2020 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. The campaign aims to address to growing number of cases of violence against women during global Covid-19 restrictions.

On average in Australia, one woman every nine days, and one man every 29 days, is killed by a current or former partner.

An estimated 1 in 6 women (1.6 million) aged 18 years and over have experienced violence by a current or former partner since the age of 15, according to findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 Personal Safety Survey.

“All of us are experiencing a unique moment where a lot of our distractions have been cancelled. Most people aren’t working in offices. We are spending more time with family and less with friends so that isolation is intensifying,” said Jess Hill.

“Domestic violence can take many forms and it’s important to know the signs if it is happening to you or someone you care about.”

The pervasiveness of coercive control in abusive relationships is one of the major issues raised in See What You Made Me Do.

Author Jess Hill
Author Jess Hill

Coercive control often happens slowly over time and can be difficult to identify. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse.

Hill describes this as “the controlling, isolating and surveilling behaviour that makes up the vast majority of domestic violence cases.”

Coercive control is not classed as a crime in Australia.

But in October 2020, the NSW government announced it would establish a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee to examine coercive control, possible legislative reform and overall policy approach.

England and Wales were the first countries to make coercive controlling behaviours against an intimate partner a crime in 2015. Scotland followed in 2019.

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice has released a discussion paper on coercive and controlling behaviour in the context of domestic and family violence in NSW. The discussion paper highlights key questions for any potential reform.

“We get a sense of why it might be important to criminalise this type of behaviour and how it’s already being done in other countries, especially the UK,” said Hill.

“If you see behaviour from a friend’s partner that is degrading, controlling, surveilling, paranoid or morbidly jealous, these are dangerous red flags abuse is happening.”

Join Jess Hill in this free City of Sydney talk to increasing your understanding of domestic and family violence and learn how you can contribute to ending it.

If you, or someone you know are affected by domestic, family or sexual violence support is available 24/7,

1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732 – the National Sexual Assault Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service is available 24/7.

Rape and Domestic Violence Service Australia/Rape Crisis NSW, 1800 424 017, provides telephone and online crisis counselling for people who’ve experienced sexual assault, sexual violence, rape or domestic or family violence.

NSW Domestic Violence Line – 1800 65 64 63 – provides referrals and information about NSW domestic violence including accommodation and legal support services.

Published 24 November 2020