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 familyviolence

What is family and domestic violence?

Family and domestic violence occurs when there is a power imbalance within a relationship, whether intimate partner or family member. It is characterised by secrecy, shame and a dwindling sense of self-worth on the part of the victim and deliberate control by the perpetrator including manipulation, enforced isolation, violence, threats and intimidation. Overwhelmingly, women and their children are abused by their male partners (although women can also be perpetrators/GBLTI victims). This abuse reaches beyond violence and physical injuries and includes:

• Psychological and emotional abuse
• Control and manipulation
• Force and intimidation
• Isolation
• Threats
• Sexual violence
• Financial abuse

Family and domestic violence is experienced by women from all social, economic, religious and cultural backgrounds around the world. It has been reported that more than a third of women over the age of 15 have experienced physical, psychological and/or sexual violence at the hands of a current or former partner. Further, Indigenous women are 45 times more likely to experience family and domestic violence compared to non-Indigenous women and make up 50% of Australia’s domestic and family violence victims. Women with disabilities are assaulted, raped and abused at a rate of at least two times greater than non-disabled women. Domestic and family violence has detrimental physical, psychological and financial consequences for both individuals and the wider community.

1800 Respect National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service

Who: The National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service [1800 Respect] is an Australia wide 24 hour a day crisis and trauma counselling service, available both online and on the phone. The telephone service was started in 2010 with Commonwealth Government funding through the Department of Social Service. It was formed under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 as part of the Government’s aim to reduce violence in Australia.


What: Free counselling is available to anyone needing help with sexual assault or domestic and family violence issues. Information and support is also provided to you or someone close to you when it’s needed. The website has resources for workers and employers on how to support clients, look after staff who work with these clients and guidance on resilience and vicarious trauma.

Men's Referral Service

Who: The Men's Referral Service has information and advice for men, women and those close to them about family and domestic violence but is aimed at making a difference to the way that men think about the violence and intimidating behaviours they are committing.

What: The Men's Referral Service provides anonymous and confidential telephone information and referrals to services in your area. They can give you advice on intervention orders, behaviour change, anger management, access and custody.

Relationships Australia

Who: Relationships Australia was started in Melbourne in 1948, focusing on marriage guidance. Today, Relationships Australia can be found across the country with 12 centres in metro and regional Victoria, helping people with a variety of relationship counselling services.

What: Relationships Australia offers a number of services dealing with relationship issues including relationship counselling and skills courses, family dispute resolution, family and domestic violence prevention support, phone based counselling, men and family relationships help, multicultural programs, post separation parenting support, and specialised programs helping people deal with the ramifications of forced adoption and adults who were sexually abused in organisational settings. 

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre

Who: Safe Steps is a Victorian based service that seeks to keep women and children free from violence. It is aimed at women and those close to them. They campaign for policy change and legal reform while keeping domestic and family violence on the political and social radar.

What: Safe Steps run the free Family Violence 24/7 Response telephone line which provides support around risk assessments, referrals to crisis accommodation, safety planning, information about your options, rights and entitlements, advocacy, referral to services in your area and outreach services that can meet you away from your home. You can call Safe Steps at any time in your journey, whether you just need information, you’ve started thinking about a plan to leave or when you’re ready to go. They also provide telephone support and information for non-offending family members and friends.

WIRE (Women's Information and Referral Exchange)

Who: WIRE is a Victorian based support service that helps women with any number of issues they might have. Started in 1984, WIRE’s 90 staff and volunteers assist women with over 12,000 requests per year. It is free, confidential and statewide so you can call or visit their drop in centre to ask them about anything.

What: WIRE provides women with information, support and referrals. They have a drop in centre based just out of Melbourne’s CBD with resources and computer facilities. They also run skills classes and programs for women. You can call their Women’s Support Line on 1300 134 130, chat with them online or send them an email with your questions.

Get Help

1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732
Women's Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
Men's Referral Service: 1300 766 491
Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre1800 015 188
Financial Counselling Australia
WIRE (Women's Information and Referral Exchange)
Victorian Department of Health & Human Services
Federal Department of Human Services

1800 support line

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