Every emergency or a natural calamity is accompanied by a surge in family violence cases with women and children suffering the most. Emergencies and natural calamities put immense stress on an individual due to financial instabilities and future uncertainties. Similarly, the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a massive increase in family violence cases in Australia and around the world due to stress, financial insecurities, isolation, and lockdowns. All this has increased the work of family lawyers in Melbourne who now have to deal with a massive spurt in family violence cases.
What Constitutes Family Violence?
The violence of any form conducted by a person on another member of the same family comes under the category of family violence. This includes the following-
- Physical and Sexual Violence- This includes harming a person physically, violent sexual behavior, and non-consensual sexual activity.
- Emotional Abuse- This form of abuse is more subtle as there is no outright physical violence. Behaviors like adultery, incessant derogatory remarks, excessive control and domination, and undermining a person’s self-esteem constitute emotional abuse.
- Economical Violence- This includes denying food, shelter, clothing, and medications to the dependent member of a family. Misusing a spouse’s financial resources for personal gain and attempting to control his financial resources also come under this.
- Spiritual Violence- Forcing a partner to convert to your faith or not allowing a spouse to freely practice his religion constitutes spiritual violence. This also includes ridiculing a spouse’s religious beliefs and practices.
Why Should You Not Suffer Silently?
Tolerating and condoning the abusive behavior leads to impunity to the abuser and further sufferings of vulnerable members. No matter what the conditions and circumstances are, an act of abuse is a crime and should be dealt with accordingly. In patriarchal societies, women are discouraged from speaking against their harassment or seeking legal help. It is expected of a woman to put up with the abusive behavior of her spouse. This leads to the normalization of family violence and a large number of unreported cases. Children witnessing family violence develop mental health issues and life-long scars on their psyche.
How to Seek Help?
Any kind of physical and sexual abuse should be immediately reported to the police. Most people change their behavior once they are reported due to fear of shame and incarceration; if the violence persists, then separation is the only solution. In case of other forms of violence, a legal professional should be consulted who would guide you through the legal process. Family Lawyers in Melbourne can easily be contacted through their mobile numbers. Besides, there are also a large number of NGO’s and government organizations to provide legal help for court cases, separation process, custody of children, and maintenance rights.