Have you harmed the ones you love? Whether you’ve been abusive or violent once, twice, or many times, there’s probably a pattern to the things you do.

We encourage you to reflect on your behaviours and how they have harmed others. Becoming aware of how you’re acting will help you take control of your behaviours – and ultimately, stop. Abusive behaviour can be physical, verbal, sexual, psychological or financial. It can include:

  • Threatening your partner
  • Calling them names
  • Controlling what they do, where they go and who they speak to
  • Not allowing them to see their friends and family
  • Accusing them of cheating
  • Stalking them by continually checking up on them
  • Sharing – or threatening to share – intimate images of your partner with their family, friends or work colleagues
  • Hitting, kicking, punching, or throwing objects at them
  • Rape, forcing your partner into sexual acts they don’t want to do
  • Keeping their money from them or demanding their money

What’s the harm in how I behave?

  • Checking your partner’s phone?
  • Scrutinising their social media posts to see who they’ve been socialising with?
  • Constantly checking up on them by phoning or texting?
  • Starting to tell them who to see, what to wear, what to do?

For some people, the thought of someone they love leaving them for someone else can be overwhelming and become a real fear and source of anxiety.

This can result in wanting to control the situation and their partner to the point that it becomes abusive.

A healthy relationship is one with mutual respect, trust and honesty. Where both partners feel equal, each is supportive of the other and both feel comfortable communicating openly about anything.

Controlling if or when your partner goes out, who they socialise with, continually checking up on them and getting angry or taking revenge when they don’t do what you want them to do is wrong.

Trying to manage a relationship by controlling your partner and eroding their confidence so that they stay with you is an unhealthy relationship and it’s abusive.

Spot the signs and you can stop the abuse before it starts.

But we don’t live together and we’re not married?

Domestic abuse is the general term for this type of behaviour but it doesn’t matter if you are a couple living separately, living together, married or even ex-partner. If you are abusive in person, or online, to someone you are, or have been in a relationship with, it can result in your arrest.

What will happen if I don’t change my behaviour?

If you continue to behave abusively towards your partner you will potentially lose that person, possibly some of your friends too and you can be arrested and convicted of domestic abuse.

The way you treat your partner now, could have long-term consequences.

If you recognise that your behaviour is showing signs of becoming abusive, look to change and get support.

What can I do? How can I change?

The first step is recognising that what you are doing is not healthy for either of you and not right. The actions you’re carrying out to keep hold of your partner is pushing them further away. Abusive behaviour in any form is unacceptable and will result in you being arrested and charged.

Abusive behaviour can develop for a number of reasons but ultimately how you choose to behave is down to you and no one else.

There are resources that you can turn to for help.

National services

Men’s Helpline

Anonymous telephone counselling service for men (24 hours a day)
Phone: 1300 789 978
Web: www.mensline.org.au

Men’s Referral Service (VIC, TAS and NSW)

Anonymous service for men Monday – Friday, 9am – 9pm
Phone: 1300 766 491
Web: www.ntvmrs.org.au

Relationships Australia

Support groups and specialist programs for abusive partners.
Phone: 1300 364 277
Web: www.relationships.com.au

State and territory services

More information on all perpetrator interventions and services around the country can be found at: https://www.anrows.org.au/research-areas/perpetrator-interventions/.

Larger providers are mentioned below.

New South Wales


South Australia


Western Australia


Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory