With more people staying at home to reduce the community spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), there may be an increased risk for people experiencing family violence or abuse.

This page is intended to inform and support family violence survivors, those associated with survivors, and professionals working in the sector during this challenging time of coronavirus (COVID-19). While some of this information is general in nature, particular aspects are directed towards people living on the Border and in the Ovens Murray catchment.

For other information related to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 webpage.

Need help?

As coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions continue across Victoria, remember that it is OK to leave to leave your home to escape family violence and your safety is important.

Whatever your situation, if you or someone you know needs help, there is a wide range of family violence support services available statewide.

Get the facts

What is family violence?
Types of abuse
Lived experience

Information and support

Survivors
Women
Men
Children and young people
Older people
People who identify as LGBTIQ
People with disabilities
Culturally and linguistically diverse communities
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Family, friends and neighbours

Keeping safe and supported

Local media campaign and services
Safety planning
Technology safety
Family violence crisis response and support
Police matters
Making a report to child protection
Emergency relief
Financial abuse
Financial answers
Court matters
Legal answers

Family violence professionals

The Lookout
MARAM
Workforce development

Other professionals

Frontline workers within universal services
GPs
Hospitals and health services

Training and resources

Webinars and training related to COVID-19
Research
Media coverage
Women and disaster resources
Strategic planning
Advocacy

Get the facts

What is family violence?

Power and Control Wheel–developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs

This fact sheet by the Lookout, ‘What is Family Violence‘, provides the facts about family violence–what it looks like, who is particularly vulnerable to it, data and effects of family violence.

The Power and Control Wheel, developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, describes common abusive behaviors or tactics. It is a commonly used tool to help figure out whether negatively experienced behaviours could be abuse.

Watch a short video, ‘Power and Control Wheel–Understanding the Power and Control Wheel‘ (2 minutes).

Types of abuse

The Safe Steps website provides information on types of abuse including:

Click on the above links to find out more information about each type of abuse including some examples, impacts, and how to seek help.

Questions about Elder abuse? See our Older people section for support services, information and media coverage.

Want to know more about Financial abuse? See our Financial abuse section for related media coverage, podcasts and radio programs, and webinars. Support services can be found in our Financial answers section.

Lived experience

  • An animated autobiographical short film called TASH was launched by Family Safety Victoria in September 2020. TASH was created by young Melbourne animator Natasha Anderson. You can watch TASH on Vimeo here (6 minutes)—note the trigger warning. Natasha is the youngest member of Victoria’s Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council, which advises the State Government on policy.
  • See ABC news story: Family violence survivor’s movie, TASH, portrays a childhood marred by fear (25 May 2019).

Survivors

Below is information and advice on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacts those experiencing family violence.

Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence page of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

For survivors during coronavirus

If you’re at risk of family violence during the current pandemic, being at home may not be the safest place.

Women

Help and advice for women, women with disabilities, and mothers is available via the the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.

Men

  • MensLine Australia—a national support, information and referral service for men across Australia, specialising in family and relationship concerns. Call 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours a day)
    • Changing for Good—for support in maintaining change and building violence-free relationships. Changing for Good welcomes new participants who have successfully completed a men’s behaviour change program and want extra support in their efforts at change. They also welcome participants who have difficulty accessing a men’s behaviour change program for a variety of reasons. Call 1300 015 120.
  • The Men’s Referral Service—provides help and support for men concerned about their own behaviour or people concerned about the behaviour of the men in their lives. Referrals can be provided to local services including men’s behaviour change programs; in the event of waiting lists, men are encouraged to continue to use the referral service as a source of support. Live Chat is also available. Call 1300 766 491 between 8 am – 9 pm (Mon to Fri) and 9 am – 5 pm (weekends).
  • Gateway Health—Men’s Behaviour Change Program—For men seeking to change abusive behaviour. These non-crisis group and case management programs are operational and continue to be delivered. Group numbers are currently restricted, so there may be a waiting list. Those seeking to join the program are encouraged to add themselves to the waiting list. Referrals (and self-referrals) are received via Gateway Health’s Intake workers on (02) 6022 8888 (Wodonga) or (03) 5723 2000 (Wangaratta), 9 am – 5 pm Mon to Fri. Secondary consults can also be accessed via these numbers. All face-to-face appointments and home visits are suspended.
  • Research shows that men are most often the perpetrators of domestic violence. However, in some cases, men are victimised/abused by their partners–either in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.
  • Help and advice for men who are using violence, and men who have been abused, is available on the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.

Media

Children and young people

  • Kids Helpline—This confidential phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 is still open to answer your call, email or WebChat. Call 1800 551 800 (24 hrs, 7 days a week).

Below is information and advice on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacts those experiencing family violence. Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence page of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

Children and COVID-19

  • Tips include supporting a regular routine, supporting school-age children to continue education activities, and making a safe space for children at home. Additional tips cover supporting a child with an existing health condition, having family meetings to discuss how you plan to manage being stuck at home together, and having a safety plan in place for you and the children.
  • The What’s Okay at Home website is a resource for children and young people, and their adult allies, to help understand what family violence is, why it happens, how to recognise it and stay safe, and how to help others who are experiencing it. The website includes a tool that young people can use to develop their own safety plan.

Older people

Support services

  • Need information or advice on elder abuse? If you experience, witness, or suspect elder abuse, call the free and confidential national elder abuse phone line for information, support and referrals—call 1800 ELDERHelp (1800 353 374). This free call phone number will redirect you to an existing phone service near you. This is not a 24-hour line. Call operating times will vary. A collaboration between the Australian, state and territory governments. For more information about elder abuse, visit the Compass: Guiding action on elder abuse website.
  • Seniors Rights Victoria operates a helpline, which continues to be available by telephone and other technology. Call 1300 368 821 (10 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday). Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust, usually a family member. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological and/or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.
  • Elder Help—A mobile application to assist older people and those supporting them to access help for aged care related issues. Developed by the Older Persons Advocacy Network, the app aims to provide information to volunteers and all those in contact with older people to recognise the possible signs of abuse. Download via Apple Store or Google Play.

Information

  • For help and advice on elder abuse and family violence, and steps you can take to help if you suspect someone is suffering from elder abuse, visit the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.
  • You Decide Who Decides: Making an enduring power for financial decisions booklet—The purpose of the guide is to provide national guidance on the use of enduring appointments, with a particular focus on their usage in avoiding elder abuse. The guide was prepared on behalf of the Australian Guardianship and Administration Council and published by the Office of the Public Advocate (State of Victoria) in October 2019.

  • Safe & Savvy: A guide to help older people avoid scams, fraud and abuse (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)—Elder financial abuse can take many forms and happen to anyone. Safe & Savvy is a guide to help older people avoid abuse, scams and fraud. Find out more about elder financial abuse, the types and signs of elder financial abuse, and practical steps to safeguard yourself and your loved ones against potential abuse. Copies of Safe and Savvy are also available at your local CBA branch.
  • ‘Noticed Something? Looking out for Older People’ video—Developed by the Older Persons Advocacy Network, this explainer video helps community members identify signs of elder abuse, and provides information about getting help, including advocacy

Media

Webinars

  • Preventing Financial Elder Abuse—Compass webinar (21 August 2020). The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO (Age Discrimination Commissioner) discussing how to understand, prevent and respond to the financial abuse of older people. She was joined by Christine Cupitt (Executive Director—Policy of the Australian Banking Association), Brian Herd (Partner in Brisbane law firm CRH Law), Daniel Coase (Senior Policy Officer, Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia) and Moderator, Caroline Baum.
  • ‘Reducing the risk of abuse for older people during COVID-19’—A webinar conducted by the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 7 May 2020. Health and industry experts discussed reducing the abuse of older people during COVID-19.

People who identify as LGBTIQ

  • WithRespect is a family violence and intimate partner violence service supporting LGBTIQ+ communities and their families. Call 1800 542 847 (9 am – 5 pm, Mon to Fri); after hours support, referral and tele-counselling is also available.
  • Help and advice for people who identify as LGBTIQ is available via the the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.
  • ‘Same Sex Domestic Violence’–episode of The Project (Network Ten, 15 June 2020). Physical abuse between same sex couples is being referred to as a silent epidemic in the gay community. And there’s one young police man who’s making his mission to change that.
  • Pride in Prevention: A guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities‘—Newly released by Rainbow Health Victoria, this resource aims to support primary prevention initiatives addressing family violence in LGBTIQ communities. The guide summarises the current evidence on the drivers of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities and gives recommendations for interventions to address it. Prevention practitioners are encouraged to use this resource when developing programs and activities to address family violence experienced by people from LGBTIQ communities.
  • Campo, M. & Tayton, S. (2015, December). Intimate partner violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer communities: Key issues. Australian Institute of Family Studies–Child Family Community Australia practitioner resource.

Media

  • ‘Same Sex Domestic Violence’–episode of The Project (Network Ten, 15 June 2020). Physical abuse between same sex couples is being referred to as a silent epidemic in the gay community. And there’s one young police man who’s making his mission to change that.

People with disabilities

  • Help and advice for women with disabilities is available via the the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.
  • Sunny app provides support for women with disability who have experienced violence and abuse.
  • The 1800RESPECT Disability Support Toolkit provides frontline workers with resources, including new guidelines and fact sheets, to assist them in supporting people with disability who have been impacted by sexual assault and domestic violence.

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

  • inTouch offers free and confidential support services to migrant and refugee women living in Victoria who are experiencing or have experienced family violence. For services and support during COVID-19, call 1800 755 988 (9 am – 5 pm, Mon to Fri), or see their online hub.
  • Services and support during COVID-19: The online hub from inTouch is filled with vital information for women from migrant and refugee communities experiencing family violence, and for the practitioners and service providers that support them to stay safe during the pandemic. Visit the hub to find:
    • information on inTouch services during COVID-19
    • translated COVID-19 resources in over 60 languages
    • information on services and support for at-risk communities.

Media

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

  • Yarning SafeNStrong—Free 24/7 phone counselling for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) families launched by the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service. ATSI people and families who need to have a yarn with someone about their wellbeing can call this free confidential phone crisis line now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1800 959 563 to safely talk to a counsellor who ‘gets it’, and can refer callers to supports.
  • Djirra provides support to all Aboriginal women and, particularly, to Aboriginal people who are currently experiencing family violence or have in the past. Call 1800 105 303 (business hours).
  • Dardi Munwurro is an Aboriginal Men’s Crisis Support Line, providing support with family violence, parenting, communication, separation and relationship issues. Call 1800 435 799 for 24 hour support for Aboriginal men in Victoria. Download flyer.
  • WellMob website—Newly launched website containing social, emotional and cultural wellbeing online resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanderpeople. There are resources for keeping safe including resources on family violence. Resources include apps, videos, other websites, and podcasts. WellMob supports those who work in mental health, family support, education and youth services and broader social and emotional wellbeing workforces.
  • Hume Dhelk Dja’s response to keep Aboriginal communities informed—How to protect our mob against the spread of COVID-19; Social, Emotional Health and Wellbeing; and Websites (15 April 2020).

    Dardi Munwurro flyer

Family, friends and neighbours

Below is help and advice on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacts the friends and family of those experiencing family violence. Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence page of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

For family, friends and neighbours

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence
  • Supporting friends or family experiencing family violence during COVID-19
  • Safety planning
  • For support

If you are seeking to offer support to someone who is experiencing family violence but unsure of how to safely intervene, UHPCP highly recommends the following resource: How to be an ally to a loved one experiencing domestic violence. This guide is available for free download on the Safe & Together Institute website.

Keeping safe and supported

Local media campaign and services

‘Domestic Violence—there is no excuse’

  • A collaboration between AlburyCity and Murray River police, the ‘No Excuse’ campaign calls for victims, perpetrators and witnesses to seek help through the national 24-hour hotlines, 1800 RESPECT or Mensline on 1300 789978.
  • In the first stage of the campaign, three commercials, presented by the Member for Albury, Justin Clancy, will air on four TV channels from late April. For more information, see the AlburyCity media release.
  • To view the 30-second version of the TV commercials, visit YouTube.

Key messages

  • There is a range of local support services to assist with domestic violence, so speak up when you are safe, step in if you’re aware, get help if you’re responsible.
  • Protecting our community remains a top priority during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. Family violence frontline services, including crisis accommodation, police and courts, continue to operate to support women, children, men and families during the coronavirus emergency.
  • All Family Violence support services are available by phone and the police response remains unchanged.
  • Call 000 for Police and Ambulance help if you are in immediate danger.
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, please contact one of the support hotline numbers on the AlburyCity website.

Local services and programs

Help and Support Services: Wodonga

​To find local services near you and programs, please visit:

Safety planning

  • Safety planning is thinking about things you can do to be safer when living with violence or abuse.
  • The best way to make a safety plan is with the help of a support service.
  • Trusted friends and family members can also play a role, as well as advocates for older people and people with disability.
  • For more information about what is safety planning, how to make a plan to look after yourself (5-minute video) and how to support someone with safety planning, visit 1800RESPECT online.
  • If you would like support with making a safety plan, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or through their online chat service.

Technology safety

Although technologies such as the internet, email and mobile phones have provided benefits for victims of family violence, they have also opened up new avenues for abuse. Tip for keeping safe while using technology is available from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.

Safety apps

Safety apps may help to increase your safety when using devices like mobile phones, iPads and tablets. They can be downloaded to your device. Each app has different information and services—some are linked to where you live. You don’t need to be experiencing violence or abuse to use a safety app.

People can download trusted safety apps that are designed by experts from the iOS App and Google Play stores. A list is available on the 1800RESPECT website. Here are some examples:

  • Daisy is an app made by 1800RESPECT to connect women to support near them. Daisy can link to service phone numbers and websites, which you can access from within the app so they don’t show in browser history. There is also information on what to expect when contacting a service.
  • Sunny app provides support for women with disability who have experienced violence and abuse.
  • The Arc app enables women experiencing family violence to track details of abusive behaviour by uploading photos, videos, audio and diary entries to create a record of what has happened, when it happened, and how it made them feel. The app also has information about technology and safety as well as links to legal resources. For more information and to access the Arc app, visit Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

Family violence crisis response and support

For Victorian family violence crisis response and support during coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and Human Services online. Here you can access the latest updates, the current family violence service status for Victoria, and family violence support services. There is also information for those feeling unsafe or needing advice, on staying connected and having a safety plan, and elder abuse.

Below are statements from several services and peak organisations regarding COVID-19 and family violence.

Safe Steps

Service delivery during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (updated 29 March 2020)—Safe Steps is focused on how they can continue to provide essential services to women and children experiencing family violence. Key information:

  • The Safe Steps 24/7 crisis response phoneline (1800 015 188) will continue to operate as usual. If you cannot safely call the 24/7 phone line, email [email protected]
  • Safe Steps will continue to provide Family Violence risk assessments, safety planning and emergency accommodation which complies with all COVID-19 safety measures.
  • If you are afraid or at risk of experiencing family violence, do not hesitate to call Safe Steps for support. They will work with you to find the best options to keep you and your children safe.
  • In case of emergency, call 000.

1800RESPECT

Press release: 1800RESPECT will continue to operate during the COVID-19 health emergency, updated 27 March 2020

Key messages:

  • For those in an unsafe environment, the pressures… that have and will continue to come as a result of COVID-19, could increase the risk of violence and abuse.
  • We want to make very clear that there is never an excuse for violence under any circumstance.
  • It’s critical that those impacted by sexualdomestic and family violence know that support is available.

Key information:

  • 1800RESPECT will continue to operate during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health emergency, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • If a person does not feel safe to call 1800RESPECT over the phone, they can speak with our counsellors via webchat.
  • 1800RESPECT counsellors are very experienced in how to sensitively handle contacts from those who are in the same house as the person using violence.
  • People can also download trusted safety apps that are designed by experts from the iOS App and Google Play stores. A list is available on the 1800RESPECT website. Some examples include Daisy and Sunny.
  • The 1800RESPECT website also contains information about the types of violencehow to support people impacted by violence and abuse, and an accessible directory of local support services.
  • In an emergency or if someone is in immediate danger, please call 000.
  • If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.

Domestic Violence Victoria

COVID-19 and family violence

‘Our message to all victim–survivors, family and friends, and other service providers is that specialist family violence services are open and available for support and advice for anyone experiencing family violence who is worried about how potential self-isolation or quarantine will impact on their safety and well-being.’

Key information:   

  • If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone’s safety, call 000 or contact the police in your state or territory.
  • For confidential crisis support, information and accommodation, call the safe steps 24/7 family violence response line on 1800 015 188.
  • For confidential phone help and referral, contact 1800RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line, on 1800 737 732.
  • For a specialist LGBTIQ family violence service, contact WithRespect on 1800 LGBTIQ (1800 542 847).

[Links to additional services and apps can be found on HWPCP’s website—COVID-19 Resources.]

‘With the coming weeks of social distancing and increased isolation, while our health and human service systems respond to the unfolding public health crisis, we anticipate there will be increased risks for victim survivors of family violence and unique challenges to the specialist family violence services providing crisis support during this time.  

‘Our knowledge of how a public health emergency like COVID-19 will impact on the dynamics of family violence is new and emerging.  However, what we have learnt from global evidence is that family violence can become more frequent and severe during periods of emergency like the current pandemic.’ 

Respect Victoria

Statement: Preventing family violence during the pandemic, 27 March 2020

‘For families affected by violence, COVID-19 driven self isolation measures can pose increased risk. No matter what the external stressors, violence is never excusable…’

Statement: Staying safe in the current environment, 16 March 2020

‘…For people affected by family violence, social distancing and self-isolation measures can pose increased risk.

‘Being forced to share space with perpetrators for extended periods of time with a backdrop of external stressors including anxiety arising from the state of flux, financial uncertainty (e.g. job losses in the wake of COVID-19), food insecurity (fuelled by panic shopping), and restlessness from changed daily habits and reduced social interaction could lead to a spike in family violence.

‘No matter what the external stressors, violence is never excusable.

‘If you need assistance call 1800RESPECT and speak with a trained counsellor who will listen and support you with what is right for you and your situation, this includes making a safety plan.

‘If you are in immediate danger call 000.’

Police matters

Victoria Police has provided information on staying safe during the coronavirus restrictions on its ‘Family violence‘ webpage. Key points include:

  • Victoria Police will act to protect anyone harmed by family violence.
  • …changes to people’s current circumstances may place you at an increased risk, but… Victoria Police continue to respond to family violence matters as a priority.
  • It is okay to seek support on behalf of somebody else. Please reach out and speak up. Victoria Police is here to support you.
  • Everyone has the right to be free of violence or the fear of violence. Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected in their family and relationships.
  • Family violence occurs in all communities, cultures and socio-economic groups and is not acceptable in any part of any culture. Family violence is against the law.
  • There is no excuse for abusing a loved one.

Further information is available on topics such as discreet help, reporting family violence to police, police assistance at a family violence incident, what the law says, and resources and contacts.

Family violence safety notices and intervention orders

Depending on the circumstances, there is a range of actions police can take in the event of a family violence situation. If a crime has been committed, police will investigate and may pursue charges. However, investigation and prosecution can take time. To manage risk and increase safety, police can take immediate civil (i.e. non-criminal) actions—find out more on their ‘Family violence safety notices and intervention orders‘ page.

Making a report to child protection

  • To contact Child Protection in Victoria, please see the contact details on the ‘Making a report to child protection‘ webpage of the Department of Health and Human Services (Victorian Government). Note that North East Victoria belongs to East Division intake (1300 360 391).
  • For more information on mandatory reporting, please see the resource sheet, ‘Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect‘ (Child Family Community Australia, 2017), which is available on the Australian Institute of Family Studies website. Key points include:
    • ‘Any person can make a report if they are concerned for a child’s welfare even if they are not required to as a mandatory reporter.’
    • ‘In all jurisdictions, the legislation protects the reporter’s identity from disclosure.’

Emergency relief

  • For emergency food relief in Wodonga, Albury and Corowa, please open this spreadsheet which provides a description of the food relief provider, contact details and information on eligibility.
  • For information about Red Cross emergency relief packages, or government payments to Victorian workers in relation to COVID tests, self-isolation or quarantine, visit our COVID-19 page.
  • To access immediate emergency assistance or support for those affected by coronavirus, visit the Australian Government Department of Social Services website.
  • For more options for emergency relief, food banks plus other services, visit the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

Financial abuse

Information

Media

Podcasts and radio programs

  • Harper, H. 2020,’Your Money Explained—financial abuse on the rise’, Life Matters, radio program, ABC Radio National, 12 August.
    In this 12-minute episode, Hilary Harper talks to ABC Business reporter Emily Stewart about the signs and what help is available for those experiencing financial abuse.
  • Mamamia 2020, “He’s Going To Cut Off The Credit Card, He’s Going To Stop The Money.”, The Quicky, podcast.
    Broadcast on 24 May 2020, guests on this 14-minute episode included a financial abuse survivor and Bernadette Redford, Financial Counsellor, Salvation Army MoneySmart. 
  • Mamamia 2020, It Was Invisible… No Filter with Mia Freedman, podcast.
    In this 28-minute episode broadcast on 20 May 2020, Mia chats with Moo Baulch, who’s worked in the not-for-profit and Domestic Violence space for years before taking on her current role as head of customer vulnerability at the Commonwealth Bank, leading a team who deal with customers impacted by all forms of financial abuse

Webinars

  • Preventing Financial Elder Abuse—Compass webinar (21 August 2020). The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO (Age Discrimination Commissioner) discussing how to understand, prevent and respond to the financial abuse of older people. She was joined by Christine Cupitt (Executive Director—Policy of the Australian Banking Association), Brian Herd (Partner in Brisbane law firm CRH Law), Daniel Coase (Senior Policy Officer, Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia) and Moderator, Caroline Baum.

Financial answers

  • To speak to a counsellor, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 373 732 or via web chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • According to Financial Counselling Victoria, you can contact a financial counsellor for free and independent information, and support. If you’re looking to speak with a financial counsellor:
    • call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 4.30 pm) if you’re in financial trouble or need help to tackle your debt problems. A trained financial counsellor will assess your situation and provide you with free advice to help you move on. If your matter is more complex, they can refer you to your closest face-to-face financial counselling service. They’ll also put you in touch with the right service you require, such as legal services, crisis food and accommodation services, and health services.
    • click here to find a financial counsellor near you.
  • Banks and utilities may offer domestic violence support such as the Commonwealth Bank or North East Water.
  • Check out recent podcasts and radio programs on the topic of financial abuse in our Media coverage section.

Financial counsellors near you

  • Click here to find a financial counsellor near you.
  • Upper Murray Family Care (UMFC) provides financial counselling to those living in the Ovens Murray, Murray, Hume and Riverina service areas. This is a free service to people on low incomes or those who are experiencing financial stress. Call Central Intake—Wangaratta and surrounds: (03) 5720 0000; Wodonga and surrounds: (02) 6055 8000.
  • Uniting Ovens Murray Goulburn provide a range of services throughout the Albury Wodonga and Shepparton area, helping people under financial pressure get access to vital necessities such as food and financial help until they are back on track.

    • St David’s Financial Counselling and Gambling Counselling continues to operate as per normal, providing programs to meet individual needs for those living in north-east Victoria and the border area of NSW. The only change is that all appointments are being conducted over the phone. To make an appointment or to discuss any financial or gambling concerns, call (02) 6021 7099. Their services are confidential and appointments are with qualified counsellors. There is no fee attached at any time.
    • Uniting Wodonga provides support to people in crisis in Wodonga. Their services include financial counselling, budgeting assistance, emergency relief, and No Interest Loans. Their Emergency Relief Program operates from the corner of Beechworth Road and Nilmar Avenue, Wodonga. Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. Phone (02) 6048 6900.

Digital tools

  • A financial empowerment app called Penda aims to break the cycle of domestic and family violence by combining financial, personal safety and legal information with nationwide referrals. You can download Penda from Google Play or the App Store.

No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)

  • If you need to pay for essential goods and services or set up house quickly, consider accessing the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) available through Good Shepherd Microfinance—this is a good way to access money without have to put it on your credit card or pay high interest rates. The NILS offers people on low incomes safe, fair and affordable loans for fridges, washing machines and furniture, as well as education and medical expenses. Loans up to $1500 are available from community organisations across Australia.

  • To find your nearest NILS provider, click here or call 13 NILS (13 64 57). There are several NILS providers in North East Victoria including Women’s Health Goulburn North East, which provides a Domestic Violence No Interest Loan in addition to their general No Interest Loan Scheme for women on low incomes.

  • Household Relief Loans Without Interest are available for anyone financially impacted by COVID-19. In collaboration with the Australian Government, Good Shepherd is providing No Interest Loans of up to $3000 towards rent and utilities, repayable over 24 months. Fill in their short 2-minute eligibility check online and, if you’re eligible, call 1300 121 130.

Court matters

Applying for an intervention order (FVIO)—Magistrate’s Court of Victoria. A family violence intervention order is a court order to protect a person, their children and their property from a family member’s behaviour. You can now apply online for a family violence intervention order.

Legal answers

  • Victoria Legal Aid can provide help in a number of ways on a range of topics:
  • In most states there are community legal services including women’s legal services.
    • To find a community legal service in Victoria, search your postcode here.
    • The Hume Riverina Community Legal Service provides free legal advice to people living in North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina of NSW. They provide free legal advice on a range of legal issues over the phone or in person at various locations. Call 1800 918 377 or contact them through their website.
    • If you would like to contact a women’s legal service, the Women’s Legal Service Victoria in Melbourne provides free legal services to women via their statewide service. They can help with family violence, intervention orders, child protection, separation and divorce, victims of crime, and children living with and spending time with their parents. Those in regional areas can call 1800 133 302 on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm.
  • Family Court of Australia—When a parenting order is made, each person affected by the order must comply with it. Should the order be breached, see How do I apply to the court when parenting orders have been breached or not complied with? If a parenting order is breached by failing to return the child as required, a court may make a recovery order.

Family violence professionals

Below is help and advice for family violence professionals with regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence page of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV).

For family violence professionals

  • The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents new, unprecedented concerns and challenges for practitioners and services supporting victim survivors of family violence.
  • To support family violence professionals and others delivering essential services during this difficult period, the DVRCV is working with Domestic Violence Victoria to provide information, resources and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on family violence and COVID-19.
  • This includes FAQs on the incidence of violence during a public health crisis and the pandemic’s effects on service delivery in Victoria.
  • To access the FAQs, please visit The Lookout.

The Lookout

The Lookout is the recommended one-stop shop for family violence and COVID-19 information. This website is updated regularly by Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) and the Domestic Violence Resources Centre Victoria.

Here you will find answers to FAQs DV Vic has received about COVID-19 and its impact on victim-survivors of family violence.

Abbreviated examples of two FAQs are given below.

FAQ: How does a public health pandemic affect the occurrence of family violence?

‘Research demonstrates that family violence increases after emergency and natural disaster situations such as bushfires, earthquakes and hurricanes. Based on these experiences, we can anticipate that incidences of family violence will also increase during the widespread community outbreak of COVID-19…

‘Research into experiences of family violence post the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, found that family violence increased due to a tendency for people to revert to strict gender norms during times of natural disaster and uncertainty such as men being the protectors and decision makers and women being the carers. These strict gender norms reduce women’s autonomy and can put them and their children at risk. Research also found that women’s experiences of violence tend to be dismissed or excused more often during times of disaster or emergency with statements such as “He is just stressed.”’

For more information on the above-mentioned research, visit the Gender & Disaster Pod (GAD Pod) item below.

FAQ: Working remotely—How to communicate with clients confidentially and safely?

See COVID-19: Resources for DFV Agencies wanting to use technology, Technology Safety Australia: Safer technology for women, Wesnet.

MARAM

  • Family Safety Victoria has developed MARAM Practice Notes to outline the heightened and additional risk factors for victim survivors and perpetrators during COVID-19. These MARAM Practice Notes are available on the MARAM resources website.
  • Family Safety Victoria has also produced a video to guide practitioners on the content of these Practice Notes, with a particular focus on MARAM risk factors in the context of COVID-19, best practice response for specialist practitioners and the importance of collaborative practice.
  • The newly designed MARAM victim survivor practice guides have been finalised and are on the MARAM resources website under Practice Guide Resources. There have been no changes to any of the content, only to the design of the guides. A full version of the MARAM victim survivor practice guides is available, along with each individual chapter and appendices.
  • The MARAM Practice Guides: Chapter Summaries have also been finalised and are on the website. The Chapter Summaries provide a high-level overview and introduction of the key concepts in the Foundation Knowledge Guide and the Responsibilities for Practice Guides 1-10. The chapter summaries do not replace the need to refer to the full practice guides when determining how to undertake practice.

Workforce development

Agencies are able to list jobs with a family violence focus on a new portal. It is the place to go if looking for work; there is a lot of support around workforce (e.g. pathways).

Other professionals

Frontline workers within universal services

Domestic and Family Violence Response Training (DV-alert) is designed to build capacity in frontline workers within universal services for whom family violence is not a core function of their role. It is a free national training program designed for health, allied health, educational, childcare, and community support frontline workers. Lifeline Australia has been delivering DV-alert across Australia including remote and rural locations. DV-alert is available in various nationally recognised training streams (both workshop and eLearning options).

GPs

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is helping GPs provide care and support for victims of family and domestic abuse and violenceThe RACGP has released:

  • a ‘COVID-19 and family violence support’ fact sheet, which includes information on managing consultations on the phone or by video
  • the RACGP’s professional development program for GPs managing family and domestic abuse and violence.

Hospitals and health services

Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) Tool Kit is a suite of resources to help hospitals across Victoria further strengthen their responses to family violence. Download the SHRFV tools and resources

Training and resources

Webinars and training related to COVID-19

Upcoming webinars

  • A webinar series, ‘Responding to the ‘Shadow Pandemic’, is being delivered by ​The Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre and Domestic Violence Victoria. Five monthly webinars are scheduled between August and December 2020. Register now for the upcoming monthly webinars.

Recorded webinars

  • Preventing Financial Elder Abuse—Compass webinar (21 August 2020). The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO (Age Discrimination Commissioner) discussing how to understand, prevent and respond to the financial abuse of older people. She was joined by Christine Cupitt (Executive Director—Policy of the Australian Banking Association), Brian Herd (Partner in Brisbane law firm CRH Law), Daniel Coase (Senior Policy Officer, Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia) and Moderator, Caroline Baum.
  • The ‘Shadow Pandemic’—‘A bubble set to burst’—this was the first webinar in the series, ‘Responding to the ‘Shadow Pandemic’, being delivered by ​The Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre and Domestic Violence Victoria. Five monthly webinars are scheduled between August and December 2020. Held on 19 August 2020, this webinar was a discussion on the impact of COVID on family violence help seeking and service provision.
  • A Conversation Hour: Week 16—Becoming a different man: The incidence of family violence is of massive concern for our communities. Whilst there are female perpetrators, most are men. Led by Dr Kathleen Brasher, this discussion covered the work being undertaken to prevent men being violent against women, and how men can, must and do change their behaviour. Guests included Stephen Montgomery, Men’s Behavioural Change Coordinator/facilitator at Gateway Health as well as Coordinator—Family Violence Prevention for the Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership, and Rachel McKay, Training Coordinator at Women’s Health Goulburn North East (13 August 2020).

Media coverage

Some media items specific to particular topics can be found in the relevant sections:

News stories

TV

  • ‘Family Violence Spike’–see the start of this episode of The Project (Network Ten, 8 June 2020). Australia’s first study into the early impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on family violence has given us an idea of the hell some families are living around the country right now, the pandemic exacerbating a problem already at crisis level.

Podcasts and radio programs

For podcasts and radio programs related to financial abuse, please see our Financial abuse section.

Research reports and articles

Women and disaster resources

The following snapshots were developed by Women’s Health Goulburn North East (2012):

  1. Women and Disaster—Women and Disaster 
  2. The Relevance of Gender in Disaster risk
  3. The Hidden Disaster—Family Violence following Natural Disasters
  4. Checklists to keep women and children safe after natural disasters
  5. Men on Black Saturday
  6. Long-Term Disaster Resilience

Gender & Disaster Pod

The Gender & Disaster Pod (GAD Pod) was formally established to promote an understanding of the role played by gender in survivor responses to natural disaster, and to embed these insights into emergency management practice. On the GAD Pod home page you can find:

  • COVID-19 statement and resources
  • Bushfire resources

GAD Pod is an initiative of Women’s Health Goulburn North East and Women’s Health In the North, working in partnership with the Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative.

Strategic planning

The Ovens-Murray Family Violence Partnership is currently undertaking a strategic planning process to guide its work over the next three years (2020-2023). The partnership is working towards communities being free from family violence, and the strategic plan will include family violence prevention, early intervention and crisis response activities across all age groups, families and communities in the Ovens Murray. The partnership has been gathering the knowledge and experience of workers and people with lived experience of family violence from across the Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong, Wangaratta and Wodonga local government and border areas.

Advocacy

Australian Women Against Violence Alliance

Media statement: Welcome initial funding needs to be followed with further investment in safety, 29 March 2020

‘The national alliance of organisations working to end all forms of violence against women has welcomed the announcement today of $150 million of Federal government funding to support women and children subjected to violence through the coronavirus pandemic, and noted more will be needed to manage this emerging crisis…’