Braidwood Says No to Violence | Signs of social abuse may be subtle

In domestic and family violence, the abusive person could be anyone significant such as a current or past partner; child; brother or sister; parent; cousin; grandparent; someone the individual is caring for, or who is the carer for; or perhaps someone with a kinship or cultural duty towards.

Domestic violence, child abuse, parent abuse and elder abuse are all part of family violence.

A person who is experiencing family violence may or may not show obvious signs of anxiety and fear. Individuals may or may not appear depressed, or express shame and anger.

When attempting to identify family violence in the life of someone you care about, red flags may include inappropriate use of drugs or alcohol (to block out pain), physical health problems, or suicidal thoughts. Of course, these symptoms can also occur when family violence is not present.

A defining element of domestic violence is control and domination, and you may notice your friend unable to make choices or take action without 'permission' from a violent family member.

Category 7: Social Violence

Social violence occurs as forced isolation from supportive family or friend networks. It may be actual or threatened and can include controlling where an individual goes and who they see.

Monitoring where a person is when they're out, reading messages on their phone, smashing phones and controlling who someone follows on social media are examples of social violence.

If you are experiencing family violence, there is help for you to be safe. There are both public and private resources for help or support. Each week in this column we offer a possible contact point.

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline is an Australia-wide telephone hotline for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disability. 1800 880 052

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