From the outside, it would seem simple, your partner is abusive, you pack your bags, get in the car, and go. But life is rarely that black and white and numerous factors play into finding the courage to leave an abusive relationship.

For the purposes of this blog post, we will be primarily focusing on the sis male/female relationship, however, we would like to acknowledge all relationships, regardless of gender, or non-binary status, can, and do, suffer abuse.

In Australia, statistics show, in the case of male/female romantic relationships, where the male partner is the abuser, it takes, on average, seven (7) attempts for the abused party, to finally leave, without returning.

There are many reasons for this, including but not limited to, financial, religious & cultural, insecurities and/or self-esteem, belief in promises of it “never happening again” and the desire to “make things work” even when logic suggests it cannot.

There is also the fear of how society will treat the person leaving, will they be judged as having failed? will they be believed that the abuse was real? Many suffering are fearful to share their experiences in case their partner discovers their “betrayal.” And when they finally leave, or ask for help, they are confronted with baffled looks and questions, rather than help and acceptance.

Societal judgement is a real consideration, especially in smaller, or closed communities. In scenarios where physical, cultural, or language isolation are also factors, the fear of rejection from your community, and being completely alone, especially in a foreign country or even city, can be debilitating.

Then there is the fear of financial stability.

  • How will they afford to leave?
  • Who can help?
  • What help is there?
  • And will it be enough to support them and possibly their children?

And finally, the fear of retaliation. For those in a severely abusive situation, where the abuser has a history of physical violence, often those suffering the abuse fear if they leave, their abuser will find them and do more harm, to them, or their children, than they are currently experiencing.

Programmes such as “are you OK?” and initiatives such as the world hand-gesture for abuse, are helping, however, as a society, we need to make the channels of communication, and feeling safe to communicate, more accessible.

People must stop thinking “it’s not my problem” – because violence is a societal issue, one that has a high % of repeating generationally, if not stopped early.

How do we each help?

Know the answers to the questions – not for you, but for your neighbour, your high school best friend, your co-worker, your fellow church, synagogue, or temple goer. Basic information such as going on the Centrelink website and accessing single parent payments (for example), or passing on the contact numbers for Legal Aid, having the number/contact details, for your local Salvation Army, or St. Vincent de Paul branch, to help with food, clothing, emergency accommodation, such information is critical to someone leaving an abusive situation. It also demonstrates you are someone they can trust, a vital factor in finding the strength to leave.

If you, or someone you know, is in a violent relationship, please seek help. Below is a list of Legal Aid numbers for each state. They can assist with legal questions and in directing you to organisations that will help to make you feel safe again.

 Contact Legal Aid
Australian Capital Territory – 1300 654 314
New South Wales – 1300 888 529
Queensland – 1300 651 188
Northern Territory – 1800 029 343
South Australia – 1300 366 424
Tasmania – 1300 366 611
Victoria – 1300 792 387
Western Australia- 1300 650 579


At Melbourne Building Works (MBW), as registered NDIS Support Providers, we are committed to the betterment of our fellow Victorians. If you would like any information on what services, please contact us HERE



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