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Domestic Abuse

In 2015 government statistics reported  1 in 4 Japanese women suffered abuse by their spouses. It is against the law for one person to assault another person, whether they are living together or not.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone regardless of size, gender, or strength, It happens between people of all racial, economic, educational and religious backgrounds; in heterosexual and same-sex relationships; whether living together or separately with a partner, married or unmarried, in a short-term or long-term relationship, it can happen to you.

Noticing and acknowledging the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of another person.

Signs of an abusive relationship

Does your partner ever:

  • Insult, demean or embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Control what you do, who you talk to or where you go?
  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
  • Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security cheque, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions without your input or consideration of your needs?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other threats of physical violence?
  • Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

Abuse can take many forms.

  • Physical violence: battering, hitting, kicking, pushing
  • Denial of basic needs like sleep, food, clothes, shelter, medication
  • Sexual abuse: forced participation in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity
  • Emotional abuse: yelling, name-calling, blaming, shaming, isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior
  • Financial abuse: controlling finances, withholding or taking money, preventing spouse from working.
  • Cyber abuse:  trolling, hacking, spamming, sending or distributing photos, and harassment.

Effects of Domestic Abuse

Even though survivors may experience similar types of abuse, the response to trauma may vary from person to person. Many factors can influence how a person responds to short- and long-term effects of the abuse, such as the frequency of abusive incidents, degree of severity and the effects on physical and mental health. The overall impact of domestic violence also depends on the individual’s natural reactions to stress and ways of coping with stressful situations. Other factors can include age in which the trauma occurred, previous exposure to unrelated traumatic incidents and extent of therapy or timing of intervention.

Some immediate health impacts may include:

  • Physical injuries – such as cuts, scrapes and bruises, fractures, dislocated bones
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Miscarriage or early delivery
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Knife wounds
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Homicide

Longer term health impacts may include:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders associated with stress
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Gynaecological problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Alcohol and substance misuse
  • Smoking throughout pregnancy
  • Homelessness
  • Suicide
  • Homicide

Coping with the effects of domestic violence can be overwhelming with depression reported as the most common symptom experienced by survivors. However, abused survivors are not weak, submissive victims. It takes huge strength to live with an abusive partner. Women have to be strong and resourceful, adopting all kinds of coping strategies to survive each day.

World Health Organization 2000, Women and Mental Health: An Evidence Based Review, World Health Organisation, Geneva


Get Support Now

All forms of abuse can have long lasting effects on your physical and mental health.  Don’t hesitate to call us (03 5774 0992) if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know.

You can’t stop your partner’s violence and abuse – only he/she can do that. You do have a choice about how to respond to him/her and how to get yourself and your children to safety.

Safety Plan

Your Safety is the most important thing.

Having a safety plan is a way of protecting you (and your children) from Domestic Violence now and in the future. It helps you plan strategies in advance to deal with violence and abuse. A safety plan, including preparing an emergency kit, could also help you to think about your options to increase your safety if you stay in the relationship, or if you decide to leave.

It needs to incorporate an escape plan as well as practical strategies to improve your home and personal security. Safety planning is not about focusing on living in fear; it is about taking proactive steps to improve your and your children’s safety. It is about taking back control over your life. Safety plans need to be updated regularly, especially when things change such as a pregnancy, a new baby, or a change in living situation and should also include technology safety.




Like to know more?

If you are worried that someone you know is being abused…


  • Ask if something is wrong.
  • Express concern.
  • Listen and validate.
  • Offer help.
  • Support his or her decisions.


  • Wait for him or her to come to you.
  • Judge or blame.
  • Pressure him or her.
  • Give advice.
  • Place conditions on your support.

If you’re hesitating- telling yourself that it is none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it- keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse!

For young people: Abuse in your family or relationship

Child abuse is sadly an international reality that exists in all societies to varying degrees. Child abuse and domestic violence often occur in the same family. Researchers have found that 50 percent to 70 percent of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.

The World Health Organisation states –

  • A quarter of all adults report having been physically abused as children and
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 13 men report having been sexually abused as a child.
  • Many children are subject to emotional abuse (sometimes referred to as psychological abuse) and to neglect.
  • Every year an estimated 41 000 homicide deaths in children under 15 years of age.
  • This number underestimates the true extent of the problem, as a significant proportion of deaths due to child maltreatment are incorrectly attributed to falls, burns, drowning and other causes.

TELL has established a network of various resources that are available in the community for people dealing with a variety of child protection issues. This program also provides workshops for professionals working closely with children in understanding and navigating the Japanese child protection system, as well as professional advice and consultation in terms of both prevention and intervention.