Family Violence, Stalking and Threats

We believe that all forms of violence are unacceptable – not just those that can be seen. We want to address unsafe and unwelcome behaviour that puts the health and wellbeing of others at risk.

Violence

La Trobe University recognises the following behaviours as constituting violence:

  1. physical violence
  2. sexual violence
  3. emotional, psychological and financial violence and intimidation
  4. intimate partner, domestic and family violence
  5. verbal abuse.

These behaviours may occur in person or via remote, digital or cyber means.

Physical Violence

The act of using physical force or violence by a person against another person may include:

  1. applied force or threats to apply force
  2. fighting, biting, spitting, scratching and kicking
  3. pushing, hitting, shoving, choking, tripping and grabbing
  4. use or threatened use of a weapon (for example knives, guns and clubs).

Psychological Violence

Psychological violence can include a range of controlling behaviours and may occur face-to-face or via digital means.

Examples of psychological violence include:

  1. being threatened with injury, abandonment or death
  2. control of finances
  3. isolation from family and friends and/or confinement
  4. intentionally frightening or continual humiliation
  5. threats against children, family or pets
  6. gaslighting that causes a person to doubt themselves, their memory or their sanity
  7. any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity and self-worth (such as put-downs, ridicule and incessant monitoring of an individual’s movements).

Family, Domestic and Intimate-Partner Violence

Family violence is a broader term than domestic violence as it refers to violence not only between intimate partners, but also violence between family members. Family violence happens in all kinds of relationships, including (but not limited to):

  1. intimate: partners, lovers, husband and wife/spouses, ex-partners
  2. older people and their children (elder abuse)
  3. other family members, including children and step-parents
  4. parents and their children.

Family violence or abuse serves to establish and maintain power and control over another person (including children) and includes behaviours that cause physical, sexual or psychological harm to those within the family or relationship. Family violence encapsulates the broader issue of violence within extended families, kinship networks and community relationships, as well as intergenerational issues.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  1. violent, intimidating or threatening behaviour
  2. any form of behaviour that coerces or controls a family member or causes them to be fearful
  3. physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, psychological and financial abuse
  4. any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity and self-worth.

For more information, have a look at our Family Violence Fact Sheet [PDF 294KB]

Stalking

Stalking

Stalking is repeated contact that makes you feel afraid or harassed. Someone may stalk you by following you or calling you often. Stalkers may also use technology to stalk you by sending unwanted emails or social media messages.

You can be stalked by a stranger, but most stalkers are people you know – even an intimate partner. Stalking may get worse or become violent over time.  Stalking is a crime.

Examples of stalking

  • Following you around or spying on you
  • Sending you unwanted messages, emails or letters
  • Contacting you often (calling, texting, emailing etc.)
  • Showing up uninvited at your house, school or work
  • Leaving you unwanted gifts
  • Damaging your home, car, or other property
  • Threatening you, your family, or pets with violence

Cyberstalking

  • Sending unwanted, frightening, or obscene emails, text messages, or instant messages
  • Harassing or threatening you on social media
  • Tracking your computer and internet use
  • Using technology such as GPS or apps to track where you are

Stats

About one in six women has experienced stalking in her lifetime.

Women are twice as likely to be stalked than men are.

What to do if you’re being stalked

Getting help is important.

You can call 000 if you are in immediate danger or your local Police department if you would like to make a report.

Victims of Crime also have a helpline (1800 819 817) if you would like further information and support.

Our Stalking Fact Sheet [PDF 249KB] has more information, including assistance and support options

Threats

Threats

Threats, criminal threatening or threatening behaviour is the crime of intentionally or knowingly putting another person in fear of bodily injury.

Threatening behaviour

Threatening behaviour is intentional behaviour that would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities fear of injury or harm.  It can include acts of aggression such as yelling at a colleague, pounding on desks, slamming doors, blocking or cornering, and sending threatening voicemails, emails, or other written threats.

What can you do if you are receiving threats?

If you’ve experienced threatening behaviour you can contact the Police. In an emergency call 000.

Hazing

Refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new team or club. Students are not permitted to engage in any such behaviour regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.

The difference between hazing and bullying is subtle, which is why they are often used interchangeably. The same power dynamics are involved and the same intimidation tactics used.

The only real difference between hazing and bullying is that bullying usually involves singling out an individual at any time and bullying them as a means to exclude them. Hazing, on the other hand, involves including people by having them ‘earn’ their way into a group or onto a team.

Bullying is about exclusion. Hazing is about inclusion.

Hazing behaviours may occur in person or via remote, digital or cyber means.

Help for myself

If you have experienced violence, it is not your fault and you’re not alone. We’d like to help, if that works for you.

Are you in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, please call 000 (or 0 000 from University phones).

Find a place where you feel safe. If an incident has just occurred and a safe place cannot be located, consider contacting Campus Security (03 9479 2222) for assistance.

Consider contacting SafeSteps. If you have experienced family violence, consider accessing toll free assistance by calling 1800 015 188. They can assist with safety planning, risk assessment, crisis accommodation and ongoing support.

Check out the resources available, like the Gathering Support Booklet available for download on the Domestic Violence Resource Center website

If you're concerned about your online and tech safety, please visit eSafety Women for safeguarding suggestions.

Consider contacting Speak Up. We will listen, believe, and support you in making decisions which are right for you. Contacting us does not mean you have to file a formal complaint or engage in a process – it can be strictly around support. You can remain anonymous, unless we believe there is a genuine threat to a person’s health and safety. Call us on 03 9479 8988, or click Connect with Speak Up below.

If you’re not ready to contact a support service, confiding in someone you trust – a friend, family member, co-worker or counsellor – may help.

Looking for some tips or further information? Read our Personal Safety Fact Sheet [PDF 249KB] for more.

Help for someone else

If you’re worried about someone else, there are things you can do to help.

Are they in immediate danger? If they are in immediate danger or seriously injured, please call 000 (or 0 000 from University phones).

Find a place where they feel safe. If an incident has just occurred and a safe place cannot be located, suggest contacting Campus Security (03 9479 2222) for assistance.

Listen. Believe. Support. If someone discloses to you that they have experienced violence or unacceptable behaviour, it’s important to:

  • Reassure them that what has happened is not their fault;
  • Encourage them to talk, without putting words in their mouth. Let them express how they are feeling. (Be prepared – there may be long bouts of silence as they process their thoughts.);
  • Focus any questions on how they are feeling, and what they want to do next. It’s not up to you to gather information or pass judgment about the specifics of the incident(s);
  • Ask how you can help. The person may be overwhelmed and not know what to say - you could consider suggesting they contact someone they trust, or SafeSteps if the situation involves family violence.
  • Respect the person’s decisions. Family violence is incredibly complex, and it often takes multiple attempts for a person to leave due to a range of considerations and barriers. Only they can decide what is right for them. There are a lot of reasons why someone may feel unable to leave a family violence situation, and this should be respected.

If they're concerned about online or tech safety, please visit eSafety Women for safeguarding suggestions.

Consider contacting Speak Up. We can help you provide reasonable support through recommending options and resources. You will not need to disclose the name of the person impacted to us unless we believe there is a genuine threat to their health and safety. Call us on 03 9479 8988, or click Connect with Speak Up below.

Check out the resources available, like the Gathering Support Booklet available for download on the Domestic Violence Resource Center website

If you’re not ready to contact a support service, confiding in someone you trust – a friend, family member, co-worker or counsellor – may help.

Be an active bystanderNot sure how? Our Bystander Action Fact Sheet [PDF 288KB] has tips, supports and referrals to help

If you're a staff member who is concerned about a student, review our resources for responding to and referring concerns on the Speak Up Intranet [Staff login required]

Safe Connections

La Trobe University Speak Up has a local partnership with Safe Connections, a program by WESNET and Telstra, where we can provide female identifying survivors of family violence, sexual assault and technology facilitated abuse with free pre-paid smart phones, including $30 credit, as a way of helping link them in with life changing supports. Female identifying staff and students who have experienced technology facilitated abuse can be referred to Speak Up for a Safe Connection phone and credit, and advice on appropriate internal and external support services.

Contact Speak Up for a Safe Connection:

P: 9479 8988
E: speakup@latrobe.edu.au
W: www.latrobe.edu.au/speakup
Office: PE, Level 2, Bundoora Campus

Victimisation

La Trobe University prohibits retaliation against anyone involved in a notification or complaint of unacceptable behaviour.

Victimisation is subjecting or threatening to subject someone to a detriment because they have asserted their rights, made a complaint, helped someone else make a complaint, or refused to do something because it would be discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation. Victimisation is against the law.

It is also victimisation to threaten someone (such as a witness) who may be involved in investigating a concern or complaint.

Victimisation is a very serious breach of policy and may result in formal discipline against the perpetrator.

Relevant Policies and Procedures

Report Online

For emergency assistance, please call

Emergency Services on 000
or Campus Security on 03 9479 2222