We are going to the park to have a chat. Would you like to come along?
No I can’t
What do you mean you can’t? Why not?
I am not allowed to go out without my husband.
But it’s only us girls going to sit together and chat.
No I won’t even ask. It will only mean trouble for me.
What do you mean by trouble?
He says he doesn’t trust me. He threatens me that I won’t be able to go to church, that I won’t be able to do the shopping.
Are you sure?
Yes. He says that he will not give me any grocery money. He says that I am not worth anything. If I go with you, he will take away my only contact with people. I know he will.
He can’t do that. Treating you this way is called domestic and family violence here in Australia.
No. No. He doesn’t hit me. He isn’t violent towards me or the children.
He does not have to hit you for it to be domestic violence. He puts you down. He makes your feel worthless. He is threatening to take away your spiritual and social contacts. He threatens to take away money. That behaviour is exactly what is called domestic and family violence. Treating you that way is not OK here.
Really? I had no idea about that
Also it is awful that your children see you being treated that way. They may think that treating you that way is OK, which it isn’t. Your children may also be affected.
How can my children be affected?
Some children who are witnesses or victims themselves try to hurt themselves, blame themselves, become cruel towards animals, become bullies, feel nervous, start bed wetting. They can be very traumatised.
I cannot just tell him that he isn’t allowed to do these things? We moved to Australia but that hasn’t changed who we are, or our background, or our history.
What if you get some help?
What do you mean?
Here is Australia there are free services to help families understand how to treat each other and what the law is here.
Really? For free? Who and where are these services?
You can telephone some and ask for help.
My English is not that good.
And you can ask for an interpreter because over the phone is so hard sometimes. If you can use the internet, you can search some online services too. Some services are focused on women only. Some are focused on the men. Some are for couples and the family as well.
The ones for the family and couples include, the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service, 1800 Respect, Domestic and Family Violence support service through Centacare, Relationships Australia.
Legal service? No. I don’t want to speak to legal people.
In Australia legal services give advice and information too. Legal services aren’t connected to the government. If you go to a legal service here that doesn’t mean that anyone is in trouble or that you must go to court. That isn’t what it means here.
So even though they are legal services, they are safe for our family to go to for advice and information?
Yes, that’s right!
Services focused on women include Rockhampton Women’s Health Information and Referral Service, Gladstone Women’s Health Centre, Women’s Legal Service and DV Connect womens line.
There are services just for men too. They are Mensline, No To Violence Mens Referral Service and DV Connect.
That is so good. I cannot believe that there are so many services for free here to help. Even for men.
Yes. Australia is a free country and everyone has the right to live in peace without violence. The men’s services are there to give them information on the differences here as well. It is so great.