Using behavioural change to curb the threat of domestic violence.

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Australia is one of the best countries in the world to live in, but is rocked by tragic stories of death due to domestic violence. The image of Australia being a ‘happy-go-lucky’ place turns into a tragedy for a few. According to statistics from Mamamia.com.au, there were 71 deaths reported in 2016 as a result of domestic violence and 80 were reported for 2015. Too many people have their lives cut short due to domestic violence. There are a few approaches that can be taken to address domestic violence.

Increase awareness about domestic violence.

Increasing awareness about domestic violence so that the signs are recognised early is an important step for preventing this type of relationship to escalate and be accepted among people in Australia’s society. Educating abusers and the abused that these actions are not socially acceptable behaviour and that they have long term effects on their partner and extended families.

Half a billion dollars has been committed by the Victorian Royal Commission into family violence to help save and change lives for the better. The funds will be used to primarily help women flee abusive relationships, as well as intervention and prevention.

In 2016, the Victorian government partnered with behavioural change agency The Shannon Company to launch a campaign that would raise awareness about abusive relationships and the avenues victims could seek to find help.

Addressing the common issues that cause family violence.

There are several factors that cause tension in relationships, which become the driving force behind domestic family violence. Finances can cause the friction in relationships, especially when the family’s quality of life or security are threatened. The power status in the relationship is another factor, where individuals within the relationship might enjoy the ‘sense of control and power’ over others within their household.

Early parenthood and alcoholism are other factors that contribute towards family poverty, which ultimately leads towards domestic violence.

Another factor is a clash of personalities. Differences in people’s habits or lifestyles can often trigger people to vent in a controlling or an explosive manner.

Additionally, recognising clingy or controlling behaviour that could lead towards family violence in both heterosexual and LGBQTI relationships. Intimidation tactics can also lead to abusive relationships and family violence.

It’s important to recognise these issues and seek support particularly if they escalate to heated verbal exchanges or violence.

Bad things happen when no action is taken.

Deaths of victims of domestic violence should be prevented. Therefore the awareness advertising campaigns that are being spearheaded by the Victorian Royal Commission show that help and guidance is available and that domestic violence should not tolerated in our society. Suffering in silence should no longer be an option.

What also needs to be factored in is how the community can help. It’s one thing for the victim to reach out to the right networks for help, but it’s another thing for people to take action if they can see signs of abuse in their community. Are victims showing fresh bruising? Or are there constant arguments being heard from afar? Doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

No deaths should be tolerated and together we should stop family violence. Educating people about behaviour that is not socially acceptable, recognising the problems and having avenues to help those in distressing situations is a positive step. It might take another generation or two to change the mindset, but the actions that are implemented now will benefit Australian society in the future.

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