Domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence happens when one person in a relationship uses abuse or violence to maintain power and control over the other person.

Abuse is not only physical — it can be emotional, sexual, financial, social, spiritual, verbal, psychological or technology-based.

Find out more about domestic and family violence.

Older people and domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence can occur among people of all ages, including older couples. In relationships where an older person is experiencing violence and abuse from their partner, it is usually a continuation of a pattern of violence that has persisted for years, perhaps over decades.

Domestic and family violence is often a hidden problem for older people. Sometimes, they don’t recognise that abuse by their partner is domestic and family violence, especially if the abuse has become normalised and accepted as part of the relationship over a long time.

It may also be difficult for older people to seek help if they are:

  • financially dependent
  • ill or lack capacity
  • dependent on the perpetrator for care
  • afraid of losing their home or breaking up family relationships.

Social perceptions of older people as frail and passive may also contribute to under-recognition and under-reporting of domestic and family violence among older couples. For example, it may be assumed that older people are unlikely to perpetrate violence or abuse against their partner.

Regardless of age, domestic and family violence has serious health, social and economic impacts.

How to get help

Help is available for people of all ages affected by domestic and family violence.

If you are experiencing abuse or are concerned about someone, phone:

DVConnect Womensline

1800 811 811 (operates 24 hours, 7 days)

DVConnect Mensline

1800 600 636 (operates 9 am to midnight, 7 days)

If someone is in immediate danger, call triple zero (000) and ask for the police.

Find out more about help and support services.