What is a pattern of control?

What is a pattern of control?


Domestic and family violence involves a pattern of abusive behaviour that aims to scare and control you. The words ‘pattern of control’ or ‘pattern of coercion and control’ are often used to describe this kind of violence.

Patterns of control can take different forms in different relationships. In some relationships, stopping you from taking medicine you need is a pattern of control. Someone threatening to kill or hurt themselves when you try to leave the relationship might be part of a pattern of control. If you have a disability and access support, taking away that support in order to control you is another example of a pattern of control.


What forms can domestic and family violence take?


It is never OK for someone in a relationship to:

  • Hit, kick, and do other things that hurt your body
  • Touch you in ways or places you don’t want to be touched
  • Force you to have sex or do sexual things
  • Say and do things that make you feel scared or unsafe
  • Take your money or use money to make your life hard
  • Damage walls, parts of your home, or your things
  • Tell you they will hurt you, your children, your pets, or people you care about
  • Say they will hurt themselves if you try to leave
  • Share private photos or videos of you online without your permission
  • Stop you from following your religion or cultural practices
  • Cut you off from friends or family
  • Refuse to provide essential care and support for you if they are your parent, guardian, carer, or paid support person
  • Make looking after a baby hard by not letting you feed or settle your baby
  • Scare you by following you, harassing you, or refusing to leave you alone
  • Use the legal system to bully or intimidate you
  • Stop you from making decisions about whether or not to have a baby, or other reproductive issues
  • Stop you from having medicine you need or from seeing a doctor
  • Give you medicine you don’t need or more medicine than you need

These are only some things that domestic and family violence may involve.

If anyone is making you feel scared, worried or unsafe, it is OK to ask for help.

eSafetyWomen is designed to empower Australian women to take control of their online experiences and was developed as part of the Australian Government’s Women’s Safety Package to Stop the Violence.

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