Sutherland Shire Domestic Violence Committee

Domestic Violence can take many forms and is different in every family situation. Domestic violence generally occurs as a pattern of behaviours that are linked by power and control. This means that one person in the relationship intentionally and deliberately rules by fear, suppresses the others free will, intimidates, coerces and threatens to, or actually does harm to the other, as a way and means to control or have power over them.

No-one asks to be in a domestic violence relationship.

Domestic and Family Violence can happen to anyone from any country, religion, disability, age, social class or cultural background, sexuality or gender. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, monogamous, open, polyamorous, dating, long-term, living together or not living together, even long distance. It can happen to people who identify as transgender, gender-diverse, intersex, queer, sistergirl, brotherboy or cisgender.

No-one deserves to be in a domestic violence relationship

For the purposes of this website and our resources, perpetrators will be referred to as male and victims will be referred to as female to highlight the overwhelming statistics that show males as perpetrators within society, with one in six women experiencing intimate partner violence. ABS (2017). However, it is acknowledged that members of the LGBTIQA+ experience domestic violence and in no way is there an intention to minimise their experience.

The Power & Control Wheel

Power and Control are at the centre of the wheel. Each segment represents particular tactics which may be used to exert and maintain control.

The abusive partner rules by fear, using a wide range of methods to build up power and control

The wheel above is adapted from the Duluth Model: Power and Control Wheel, developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (Duluth MN) and produced by the National Centre on Domestic and Sexual Assault. (Source:

The Cycle of Violence

In healthy relationships, both people resolve conflict and tensions in a safe way that embodies equality and respect.

In contrast, in relationships where domestic violence occurs, tension leads to abuse and violence towards one person followed by a phase of apology and normality in the relationship.

This cycle of violence and remorse, including how quickly a family progresses through the cycle and severity of behaviour in each stage, is completely controlled by the abuser.

Often the cycle provides victims with a sense of hope that the relationship might improve and this often motivates women to stay in relationships or blame themselves when violence occurs again.