Information for parents and teachersBasic knowledge: What is domestic violence?

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Domestic violence is violence between to adults in a relationship. It is often committed by men against their partners.


Domestic violence is violence between to adults in a relationship. It is often committed by men against their partners.


There has never been a study in Austria on the extent of violence in the family. It is thought that 20 to 25 per cent of women have been victims of violence at some time by their own partners.

In Germany a major study was carried out in 2004 revealing that one in four women had been the victim of domestic violence once or more in their lives. That’s a lot of women. It was also revealed that half of the women had children at home at the time. It is therefore important to inform children and juveniles about domestic violence and to support them.

Forms of violence

The following forms can be distinguished:

  • physical violence: for example, kicking, hitting, strangling, hurting someone
  • sexual violence: for example, forcing the partner to perform sexual acts, watch pornography or rape
  • economic violence: for example, withholding money from the partner or strictly controlling the household budget
  • psychological violence: for example, humiliating or insulting a person, also social violence, for example, keeping the partner isolated, or stalking, in other words exposing the partner to psychoterror; usually associated with famous people, in fact around 80 per cent stalking incidents are in connection with domestic violence, mostly when one partner is attempting to leave and the other refuses to accept it.

The perpetrator of a violent act will often apologise and claim it was an accident, but it’s nevertheless important to know that a violent person is always responsible for his/her actions.

What happens with domestic violence involving children?

When domestic violence occurs, children are always affected, either because they grow up in an atmosphere of violence or because they are often abused themselves.

The effects of domestic violence on children range from concentration disorders, fears, aggressive behaviour and withdrawal to feelings of guilt, shame and serious trauma.

Many of these children use violence in their own friendships and relationships because they have not learned to solve conflicts constructively.