In this manual, abuse and violence encompasses:
- Intimate partner abuse (often known as domestic violence) – any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, emotional, sexual, economic and social harm to those in the relationship.9 An intimate relationship may refer to a survivor’s current or previous partner or living companion, including same sex relationships
- Perpetrators of intimate partner abuse – a person who commits, or knowingly allows, acts of abuse, neglect or exploitation to occur
- Children in violent families – children who are members of a family in which abuse and violence occurs, whether or not they themselves are abused
- Child abuse – any type of abuse that involves physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse or neglect of a child under 18 years of age (16 years of age in New South Wales, 17 years of age in Victoria)
- Adult survivors of child abuse – adults who experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect during their childhood or adolescence
- Sexual violence – any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, or other act directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting. It includes rape, defined as the physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration of the vulva or anus with a penis, other body part or object3
- Elder abuse – any type of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, economic) or neglect of a person 65 years of age or over, either in a residential aged care facility (RACF), in private care, or living independently. It can be a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.11
Family violence is broader than intimate partner abuse or domestic violence and child abuse as it includes any violence or abuse that is occurring within a family – between, for example, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents and in-laws.
While it is acknowledged that not all survivors of abuse are women and not all perpetrators are men, research supports that men are the perpetrators in the majority of cases for child abuse, sexual assault and intimate partner abuse. Intimate partner abuse incidents that are reported show that the majority of those affected are women.12
The WHO categorises all of the above forms of violence within interpersonal violence ( refer to Figure 1 ). This manual does not address acquaintance violence (apart from child and young person bullying) or stranger violence (apart from sexual assaults by strangers). It also does not cover the large burden of abuse and violence that occurs in global conflict zones, refugee camps and asylum detention centres.
Typology of interpersonal violence 13
Reproduced with permission from: Krug EG, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA, Zwi AB, Lozano R, editors.World report on violence and health. Geneva: WHO, 2002. (Accessed 17 February 2014).
This manual includes guidance on intimate partner abuse ( Chapters 2–5 ), child abuse ( Chapter 6 ) young people and bullying ( Chapter 7 ), adult survivors of child sexual abuse ( Chapter 8 ), sexual assault ( Chapter 9 ). It also addresses specific populations such as the elderly and disabled (Chapter 10 ), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ( Chapter 11 ), and migrant and refugee communities ( Chapter 12 ). It concludes with reference to legal issues ( Chapter 13 ) and, importantly, doctor self-care ( Chapter 14 ). There is an emphasis on particular issues for rural populations and same-sex populations throughout the manual.