Myth Busting with the team at DVCS
Domestic, family and intimate partner violence is a subject we are talking more and more about. In the past it was not recognised or openly discussed within our community, it occurred behind closed doors and was considered private. At DVCS we are glad our community is talking about this issue, we welcome the additional funding and awareness.
However with the responsiveness and increased discussion, the opportunity for myths and misinformation to spread becomes more likely. This October, we want to draw attention to some of the common myths, both in relation to domestic and family violence and the work of DVCS. We hope this information is useful when speaking about family and domestic violence within your community.
MYTH: DVCS will make you leave your relationship.
DVCS will never force you to leave your relationship. DVCS is client focused, which means we support clients to make their own decisions, and to do so safely. Many DVCS clients want to stay with their partner, and need supports to do so safely. This is ok.
MYTH: Only women experience domestic, family and intimate partner violence.
People of all genders can be subjected to domestic, family and intimate partner violence. We do know that the vast majority of people subjected to violence are women, but we also know there are men and non-binary people who experience violence at the hands of their partner or other family members.
MYTH: DVCS make you involve Police.
DVCS acknowledges many people don’t wish to engage Police, and for a variety of reasons. DVCS respects these decisions and will support people regardless of whether they wish to report matters to Police. DVCS’ support extends beyond involvement with police and includes referrals to other supports, court options and internal programs. However, if we are aware of an immediate life threatening situation unfolding, we will contact Police.
FACT: If I am in lockdown, isolation or quarantine, I can leave my home if it is not safe.
Yes, you can leave your home if you are not safe if you are in lockdown, isolation or quarantine. However, to ensure you leave safely, in the context of Covid and the violence you are experiencing, we do ask you engage with our crisis line so we can support you.
FACT: DVCS supports all people, no matter how much they earn.
DVCS is free of charge to the majority of our clients. We are available to everyone, no matter how much you earn. DVCS does not wish for there to be a barrier to seeking support, to anyone.
MYTH: If children don’t witness violence, they aren’t impacted.
Research overwhelming shows that children are impacted by family and domestic violence despite not witnessing it directly. Children are highly sensitive to the behaviours, reactions and stress responses of primary caregivers. Children mimic behaviours, both positive and negative and develop their own coping strategies for managing the violence. The impacts of violence have long-lasting impacts.
FACT: DVCS Board and Staff are people of all genders, this includes men.
DVCS is governed by a Board of Goverance and operated by a team of people who are all located within or around the ACT region. This includes a mixture of genders. While the bulk of our workforce are woman, men work across DVCS’ different programs, within our Leadership Team and on our Board.
MYTH: Only people on low incomes or government supports are subjected to violence.
It does not matter how much you earn, you can still experience domestic and family violence. People who use violence come from all socioeconomic groups.
FACT: DVCS is an inclusive service support people of all genders. This includes women, men and non-binary people.
The DVCS 24/7 crisis intervention and legal advocacy teams support people of all genders.
Due to the specific requirements of their funding, our Women & Children’s Specialist Program only supports people who identify as women or non-binary and our Room4Change program only supports men and their female partners.
MYTH: Men experience domestic and family violence at the same rate as women.
This is simply not true. Men absolutely do experience violence within their family and intimate partner relationships, but not at the same rate of women. Additionally, the types of violence men report differs from the violence women usually experience. Research highlights that women are subjected to significantly more physical violence, than men.
MYTH: I must be an Australia Citizen to receive support from DVCS.
DVCS supports any person living in the ACT and surrounding region. This includes people who might be visiting the ACT from interstate or overseas. You do not need to be an Australian Resident or Citizen to receive support.
MYTH: All people who use violence within their relationships have a mental illness.
Not all people who use violence have a mental illness, just as not all people who have a mental illness use violence. There are many people who use violence and experience no formal mental illness.
Mental illness is a contributing factor, but not a driver of violence within a family or intimate partner relationship.
FACT: DVCS works collaboratively with other agencies to advocate for children to stay at home, if it’s safe.
DVCS works hard to maintain collaborative relationships with other agencies in the ACT, including Child & Youth Protective Services, ACT Policing and the ACT Human Rights Commission. We do this so children can live safely and free from violence and to support the protective parent. DVCS will never disclose information to any other agencies without you consent and speaking with you first.
MYTH: Domestic, family and intimate partner violence is only physical violence.
There are many other elements of domestic and family violence which are not physical. Psychological and emotional violence, financial and technology and religious and reproductive violence, to name a few. DVCS often supports clients who don’t experience any type of physical violence on a regular basis.
MYTH: You must report your experience to Police before speaking to DVCS.
No, you don’t. At DVCS we know that many people don’t want to engage with Police, for a variety of reasons, and that’s ok. If you don’t want to engage with Police, we hope you will engage with our services so we can help to safety plan. Nobody at DVCS will ever force you to engage Police.
However, in the event we are aware of a life threatening situation unfolding, DVCS will contact Police.
FACT: Domestic, family and intimate partner violence is a pattern of behaviours.
Domestic, family and intimate partner violence is not a one off event. Sometimes, it might feel like it is, but it usually is not. There is often a pattern of behaviours, including physical and non-physical forms of violence.
People who use violence will seek to control the other person. This can be done by using physical violence, making threats to use violence or by using non-physical forms violence.
At times, people do not recognise that they are in a violent relationship until a physical incident occurs. Reflection and support can assist people in understanding their experiences of violence.
MYTH: I don’t want to leave the relationship, but I want the violence to stop. DVCS can’t help me.
DVCS is client focused, which means we support clients to make their own decisions. We respect if you want to stay in the relationship and work with you to help you do that safely.
MYTH: People who use violence within their relationships are impacted by illicit drugs and/or alcohol.
Some people who use violence also use illicit drugs and/or alcohol to excess, but not all people. This is just as some people who use violence within their relationships don’t use illicit drugs and/or alcohol.
Illicit drugs and/or alcohol are a contributing factor, but not a driving factor of violence within domestic, family and intimate partner relationships.
FACT: DVCS is an inclusive service supporting children, young people and adults.
Yes. DVCS supports all people, children, young people and adults. While the majority of our clients are adults, we do support children and young people who have been subjected to violence and/or witnessed violence within their homes. We do this via our 24/7 crisis intervention line, our legal advocacy and within some of our case management.
To find out more information about how DVCS can support you, or a friend or family member, please reach out to us on:
Phone: 02 62 800 900 (24/7)
SMS: 0421 268 492