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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence line (24 hours)1800 65 64 63 if you are in immediate danger call 000

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Get help > Making relationship decisions

Making relationship decisions

Having an abusive or violent partner is not easy. Maybe you are still hopeful that things will change, or afraid of what your partner will do if you leave. What is domestic and family violence?

Violence and abuse is traumatic and can make you feel confused, so it is a good idea to speak with someone who can help you work through relationship decisions. Domestic violence counsellors are specially trained to help you make relationship decisions. Call the NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63 or 1800 RESPECT for the Australia-wide service.  You can also call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

Deciding whether to end the relationship or not

As you consider whether to leave or stay with your partner, you might be thinking:

They have promised to stop the abuse.

Abusive partners often plead for another chance, beg for forgiveness, and promise to change. They may even mean what they say in that moment, but they really want to keep you from leaving. Most of the time, they quickly return to abusing and controlling you when they stop worrying that you will leave.

Even if your partner is in counselling, there is no guarantee that they will change. Many partners who go through counselling continue to be violent, abusive, and controlling. If your partner has stopped trivialising the problem or making excuses, that is a good sign. But you still need to make your decision based on who they are now, not the person you hope they will become.

If you do want to continue the relationship, there are still support services that can help you. See support if you continue in the relationship for more information.

I am hoping they will change. I can help.

While change is not impossible, it is not quick or easy. Change can only happen once your partner takes full responsibility for their behaviour and stops blaming you, or their unhappy childhood, stress, work, financial problems, drinking, drug misuse, depression or temper.

Signs that they are not changing includes if they:

  • tell you that you owe them another chance
  • say that they can’t change unless you stay with them and support them
  • minimise the abuse or deny how serious it really is/was
  • continue to blame others for their behaviour
  • claim that you are the one who is abusive
  • say you will destroy the family by leaving.

It is not unusual to want to help your partner. You may think you are the only one who understands them or that it is your responsibility to fix their problems. But the reality is that only your abuser can take responsibility for their abuse and take action to change their behaviour. An Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) can stop the abuse. For more information, see support if you continue in the relationship and support if you end the relationship.

I am worried about what will happen if I leave.

You may be afraid of what your partner will do, where you will go, or how you will support yourself or your children if you leave. But there are many support services that can help you. The 24 hour NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 656 463) can provide information and counselling, and refer you to local support services, including accommodation, health and legal services. Call 1800 RESPECT for the Australia-wide service.

More help

  • Call the NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 (24 hours)
  • Call 1800 RESPECT (Australia-wide service)
  • What is domestic and family violence?
  • Support if you continue in the relationship
  • Support is you end the relationship
  • Staying safe
  • Information on accommodation support
  • Legal and courts help
  • Financial help
  • Health help