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Association for the Prevention and
Handling of Violence in the Family

Free of charge

 Support to individuals who use violence

Are you worried about how your behaviour is affecting your children or have you seen your own behaviour in your kids?

Are you feeling bad about some things you’ve said or done to your partner?

Are you worried that she might leave you?

Or, has she already left you and you’re worried she won’t come back?

If you are worried, ask yourself these few important questions:

  1. Do you often call your partner names and constantly criticize them?
  2.  Have you ever tried to stop your partner doing something that they wanted to do? (For example, going out with friends, having a job, doing some study).
  3. Do you take control of the finances, so your partner is not allowed to have money for their own personal use?
  4. Have you ever threatened to hit or throw something at your partner?
  5. Have you ever unfairly accused your partner of paying too much attention to someone else?
  6. Have you ever slapped, hit, pushed or shoved your partner?
  7. Have you ever pressured your partner to have sex when they did not want to?

If you have made a concrete decision to change your behaviour, you have taken an important step. You have just made it over the first difficult hurdle! You’ve shown a great deal of courage to get this far.

If you want your relationship with your partner and children to be without fear and violence, here are some ideas to start with:

  1. The most important thing is to remove fear from the relationship. You cannot resolve those other issues until your partner feels safe to discuss them with you.
  2. You may want to blame others for what is happening to you. This is not going to help you. Focus on what you can do differently, NOT what you want other people to do differently.
  3. Lasting change takes time. If your partner and children are scared of you, it will take considerable time before they recognise the change in you and begin to feel safe. Accept that this cannot be rushed or achieved overnight.

Many men who are abusive to their partners describe feeling angry and needing to stay in control, even when they’re not around their partner. If this is happening to you, then you know how uncomfortable, exhausting and terrible this feels.

Some people think that men who have behaved in violent and aggressive ways must be mentally ill or ‘crazy’. Sometimes the men themselves think this. Most men are not violent or controlling outside the home. They choose when, where and how they are violent or abusive.

WE ALL HAVE CHOICES

Men who have been violent to their partners may describe themselves as being ‘out of control’ when the violence happens. You have a lot more control over your behaviour than you might think. In the heat of the moment, you may not be aware of the choices you make, but you still make them. You choose the way you speak and act with other people. Even when you are very angry or distressed, the choice is still there to be abusive or to find another way to deal with the situation.

When you are feeling highly distressed or maybe completely overwhelmed by your feelings then it is a high-risk time for violence.

  1. Consider taking extended time out from the situation. Going away to stay with a friend can help. You may feel like taking some time off work. Taking this time off may be hard to organise, but remember there is nothing more important right now than looking after yourself. This will give you time to think about your behaviour and how it is affecting your family.
  2. If you find yourself wanting to hurt your partner by criticising her or by using cruel and hurtful words in a way that you know will hurt – STOP!
  3. Take 5 slow deep breaths – THINK!
  4. Do I want to hurt the person who matters most to me? – FOCUS!

I must control myself, not her.

If violence in relationships is ignored, things keep getting worse. Sooner or later it happens again … and again …

Many couples in intimate relationships disagree about things and fight. Disagreements are a part of normal, healthy relationships. Problems arise if one partner feels too threatened or scared to have their say. When this happens, the balance of power is no longer equal.

Alcohol, drugs and violence

Some men believe they only become violent after they’ve been drinking or using drugs. However, this doesn’t mean that alcohol or drugs cause the violence. It just makes it easier to avoid taking responsibility for the violence.

Abusive behavior happens even when you are not under the influence. There are also many men who enjoy drinking and are never violent. If you think you drink too much or you have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, then you need to realise that this is a separate problem to your violence. You need to get help for both problems.

Our ability to face daily challenges may be affected if our personal relationships are not strong and supportive. Strong and supportive relationships will help you enjoy a good overall quality of life.

For more information you can go to the category ‘programs’ of our website.

The above text is taken from the self-help booklet for men who want to change “How to deal with Domestic Violence”, “Freedom from Fear” Campaign, Government of Western Australia – Department of Child Protection.  



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