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 page.

For information related to the Ovens Murray – Family Violence Partnership, please visit our Ovens Murray – Family Violence Partnership page.

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.

  • In an emergency or if someone is in immediate danger, please call 000.
  • Family violence can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their diversity, including differences around sex and/or gender identity and sexuality. Whatever your situation, if you or someone you know needs help, there is a wide range of family violence support services available in Victoria.
  • For confidential crisis support, information and accommodation, contact the safe steps 24/7 family violence response line on 1800 015 188 or via webchat (Mon to Fri, 9 am to 9 pm).
  • For confidential phone help and referral, contact 1800RESPECT, the 24/7 National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line, on 1800 737 732 or via webchat.
  • For a specialist LGBTIQ family violence service, contact WithRespect on 1800 LGBTIQ (1800 542 847).
  • To access a range of support hotline numbers, view the AlburyCity website. ​
  • To find local services near you and programs, please visit:

Get the facts

What is family violence?
Types of abuse
Financial abuse

Information and support

Victim–survivors
Women
Men
Parents and carers
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 answers
Housing issues
Finding or returning to work
Court matters
Legal answers

Family violence professionals

The Lookout
Reform initiatives
MARAM
Media coverage of FV workers
Resources and tools
Family violence jobs

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).
  • WIRE (Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc) has a number of information booklets available to download as PDFs. Among the topics is a booklet on family violence.

Types of abuse

Family violence is not always physical or sexual abuse. It can include controlling and coercive behaviours such as making threats, monitoring you, limiting your contact with other people, stopping you from accessing care, or controlling the way you get and spend money. (Source: Safe Steps website)

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.

WIRE (Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc) has a number of information booklets available to download as PDFs including family violence, money problems with your partner, separation and property, and stalking.

Financial abuse

Information and support

  • Information about financial abuse and how to reach out for support is available from:
    • the Safe Steps website
    • the Financial Abuse Support Toolkit, which is provided online by 1800RESPECT. The toolkit includes information about what is financial abuse, the warning signs, who can experience it, who is responsible for it, and examples of financial abuse. Options for support include where to start, who can provide support, what a financial counsellor does, and websites to visit. Three videos provide an opportunity to hear from women with lived experience of financial abuse.
  • To reach out for support, you can contact 1800RESPECT (24 hours a day) by calling 1800 737 732 or via online chat:
    • Those impacted by financial abuse can receive information, referrals and counselling.
    • Those supporting someone who has been impacted by financial abuse can receive information and counselling.
  • For support services, please see our Financial answers section below.

Media coverage

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.

Information and support

Victim–survivors

Support services

  • If you or somebody else is in immediate danger, call the police on 000.
  • Please see the top of the page for information on family violence support services available, including in Victoria and NSW.
  • Gateway Health provides counselling and support, outreach services, group programs and resources:
    • Counselling and support for women affected by family violence. Specialist Children’s Counselling can also be arranged where appropriate.
    • Outreach services can be provided in Corryong, Tallangatta, Tangambalanga, Kiewa and Mount Beauty.
    • The WINGS Program is provided for women who have or are experiencing family violence. This group program runs over eight weeks and is designed for women to work through the challenges of moving towards a life free from family violence.
    • Relationship Counselling is also offered.
    • Resources include the ‘Healthy Relationships’ video, which was developed to raise awareness of the difference between a good and a bad relationship. Translations are available in Hindi, Nepali, Swahili and Kinyarwanda via this YouTube playlist.
  • Women’s Centre for Health & Wellbeing (Albury)—specialised services for women experiencing Domestic and Family Violence/Childhood Trauma, as well as General Counselling.
  • Sexual Assault Services Victoria—If you have experienced sexual assault and need help, call the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292 (free call, Victoria). The crisis line is a state-wide, after-hours, confidential, telephone crisis counselling service for people who have experienced both past and recent sexual assault. For information about what to expect when you call the crisis line, or to download a brochure in another language, visit the Sexual Assault Crisis Line.

  • The Victims of Crime Helpline offers information, advice and support and is the first step for victims of crime to access free services in Victoria. The helpline is pivotal in linking victims to services—call 1800 819 817 (8am–11pm, 7 days a week).
  • Victims Assistance Program (VAP) comprises a network of community-based agencies delivering support services to victims of crime across Victoria. Funded by the Department of Justice and Community Safety, these services aim to support victims of crime manage the effects of experiencing a violent crime and promote the recovery process. The VAP offers a free service tailored to meet the needs of each person.
    • The VAP service is open to people living in the Hume rural region (Wangaratta, Mitchell, Moira, Murrundindi, Shepparton, Strathbogie, Indigo, Wodonga, Benalla, Alpine, Towong and Mansfield LGAs) as well as the Northern Metropolitan region.
    • You do not need a referral to access this service.
    • Please phone the Merri Health VAP on 1300 362 739 (9 am – 5 pm, Mon–Fri) for any enquiries or assistance, or email VAPIntake@merrihealth.org.au
    • Outside these hours, contact the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 (8 am–11 pm, 7 days a week). Alternatively, text 0427 767 891 or email vsa@justice.vic.gov.au

Information and support

Media coverage

Film

  • 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 related ABC news story: Family violence survivor’s movie, TASH, portrays a childhood marred by fear (25 May 2019).

Women

Men

Information

  • 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.

Telephone and online counselling services

  • 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) or register for online counselling.
  • 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).

Programs

  • 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.
  • Men’s Behaviour Change program is now available in Albury—see flyer. Intake is conducted via Westside Community Centre, Albury. Call (02) 6041 2236 or email staff@westsidecommunitycentre.org.au to receive information about the 20-week group program. Referrals and enquiries from agencies or family members are open.
  • Changing for Good is a program to help men stop using violence in their family and relationships. Provided by MensLine Australia, this free voluntary program is for men who have completed a Men’s Behaviour Change program and need extra ongoing support to make the change permanent. They also welcome participants who have difficulty accessing a Men’s Behaviour Change program for a variety of reasons or who may prefer telephone counselling. Call 1300 015 120 or download and email the expression of interest form.
  • Ready Baby is a program for first-time fathers, with a child aged 0-5 years old, and who are using family violence. Offered by Centre Against Violence (CAV), it is a 12-week group program alongside individual appointments for counselling.
    • The content is underpinned by the Duluth Model, addressing the childhood experiences of participants and how this can create a blueprint for our parenting and promoting child-centred fathering. It aims to enhance the safety and wellbeing of their children and their children’s mothers by offering a family key worker at CAV.
    • CAV is  looking forward to having a group up and running by mid-November 2020. Location is not yet confirmed (Wangaratta or Wodonga). Download flyer. All enquiries to CAV on phone (03) 5722 2203. Referral form and information sheet available by email: admin@cav.org.au 

Media coverage

Recorded webinar

Research

  • Fathering programs in the context of domestic and family violence—Released by Child Family Community Australia in December 2020, this paper examines how men’s behaviour change programs, domestic and family violence specific fathering programs, and Aboriginal men’s healing programs address fathering issues for men who use violence. It presents findings from a scoping review of Australian and international literature to highlight similarities, differences and gaps in programs and explores how these programs could be more inclusive of fathering in the context of domestic and family violence. View key messages and download paper here.
  • National survey: Family violence perpetrator focused screening and risk assessment—Do you provide services to men for a specialist men’s or mainstream service (e.g. Mental Health, AOD, Child Protection, Corrections, Police or Men’s Behaviour Change Program)? If so, the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre would like to hear about your screening practices for family violence. Please contribute your Ovens Murray knowledge and experiences to this important national survey—it takes only 5–10 minutes. Complete survey now!

Parents and carers

Parenting After Bushfires flyer

Programs

  • Parenting After Bushfires—free program for families that have experienced the trauma of bushfires. Offered by Gateway Health, it is designed to help parents to support children through the aftermath of such a devastating event. Delivered by telephone, the program consists of four one-hour sessions and can be tailored to meet the needs of individual families with additional sessions as required. Download flyer. For more information or to enrol, contact the Positive Parenting Telephone Service at Gateway Health on 1800 880 660.
  • Gateway Health’s Parent and Relationship Education programs are underway for 2021—see Term 1 schedule.

Children and young people

Information and support

  • 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 children experiencing family violence. Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence page of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.
    • 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.
  • This video, titled ‘Understanding consent’, is a useful introduction to consent, victim-blaming and the importance of listening to survivors. Developed by ANROWS (Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety), the video draws upon findings from the youth report of the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS), focusing on results for young Australians aged 16-24.

Regional and State financial support options for low-income families

As the start of 2021 kicks off, many children and young people are returning to education and vocation. This may put added financial pressure on families already trying to juggle the increasing costs of supporting children’s needs. There are Regional and State funding options available for those experiencing financial hardship that you may wish to explore with people with whom you are working. Regional and State financial support options for low-income families include:

  • Camps, sports and excursion costs
  • Victorian Concessions for rates, water, electricity and gas
  • State Schools Relief
  • Family Violence Crisis Package—Flexible support packages will deliver a personalised and holistic response to victims/survivors experiencing family violence by assisting them to access support, move out of crisis, stabilise and improve their safety, wellbeing and independence into recovery. This includes children victim–survivors who have a case plan in their own right, or are included in their caregivers’ case plan
  • Homeless Children’s Brokerage—brokerage is available to support accompanying children of Specialist Homelessness Services who have experienced homelessness and/or family violence and have a case plan.
If you would like to explore these options, please contact Kirren O’Brien, GV & OM Children’s Resources Coordinator, Junction Support Services, Wodonga.

Recorded webinar

  • VCOSS Disaster Recovery Conversation series: Children and young people in disaster recovery (1 hour 35), 25 February 2021. This conversation was held to identify and explore priority issues in emergency and disaster recovery for children and young people, and to share recent research and practice.

Older people

Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. To find out more about your rights and elder abuse, visit Elder abuse (Seniors Rights Victoria webpage).

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 provides information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older people.
    • If you, your client or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, contact their free, confidential Helpline: 1300 368 821 (10 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday).
    • Email info@seniorsrights.org.au,
  • Seniors Rights Service (NSW) provides free and confidential telephone advice, aged care advocacy and support, legal advice and rights-based education forums to seniors across NSW.
    • Call 1800 424 079 (9 am – 4.30 pm)
    • Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) 13 14 50
    • National Relay Service 13 36 77 (then ask for 02 9281 3600).
    • Email info@seniorsrightsservice.org.au
  • 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 coverage

Recorded webinars

  • Navigating aged care services with older people at risk of homelessness—A one-hour webinar conducted by the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 30 March 2021. The discussion covered how aged care workers can support older people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The panel included Fiona York, Executive Officer, Housing for the Aged Action Group; Bryan Lipman, CEO, Wintringham; and Suzanne Hopman, CEO, Dignity.

  • Preventing Financial Elder Abuse—Compass webinar (21 August 2020). In this one-hour webinar, the Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO (Age Discrimination Commissioner) discussed 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

Information

Support

  • 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.
  • Rainbow Door is a free specialist LGBTIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, BrotherBoys, SisterGirls) helpline providing information, support and referral to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their friends and family during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Newly launched, this service is run by Switchboard Victoria.
    • The service is free and available to ALL Victorians regardless of visa status. Phone 1800 729 367 or text 0480 017 246 via free call and text (10 am – 6 pm every day). Email: support@rainbowdoor.org.au
    • All staff in the Rainbow Door are experienced specialist workers with case management, suicide intervention and risk assessment skills. They can provide Family Violence risk assessment and safety planning, assist with access to LGBTIQA+ friendly services and connection to advocacy or advice in relation to mental health, disability, relationship or support for older people.
    • Rainbow Door is offering support in languages other than English, including Auslan, through their interpreter service. To access in-language support, callers can ring 1800 729 367, tell Rainbow Door the language they speak and they will be connected to the interpreter service.
  • QLife is an Australia-wide telephone and webchat peer support and referral service for LGBTIQ+ people and their loved ones. QLife is a free and anonymous service run by LGBTIQ+ peers for those wanting to talk about a range of issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships.
    • QLife provides peer support via telephone, 1800 184 527, or webchat from 3 pm to midnight every day.
    • QLife is a peer support service—their peer supporters cannot provide counselling; however, they can provide referrals to LGBTIQ+ inclusive counselling service if needed.
    • While QLife provides support to LGBTIQ+ people during difficult times, QLife is not a crisis support and suicide intervention service. Please contact mental health services in your local area for crisis mental health support.
    • Professionals seeking support or referrals can contact QLife via phone or webchat. They have also created a range of QGuides for health professional working with LGBTIQ+ people.

Media coverage

Resources

  • There’s no safe place at home: Domestic and family violence affecting LGBTIQ+ peopleEquality Australia and the Centre for Family Research and Evaluation have released this report exploring the prevalence of domestic and family violence experienced by LGBTIQ+ people. A survey of 2631 LGBTIQ+ people found that 8 per cent lived with someone who had been violent, abusive, harassing or controlling towards them in the last 12 months, with families of origin found to be a significant source of this violence. The study also identifies factors that magnify the risk of family violence for LGBTIQ+ people and outlines implications of the research for policymakers.
  • COVID-19 LGBTIQ+ Family Violence Prevention Project: Prevention In The Pandemic. A report commissioned by Respect Victoria has found that LGBTIQ+ Victorians, particularly those experiencing health, social and economic inequalities, have faced increased challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the risk of family violence. Conducted by the Centre for Family Research and Evaluation in partnership with the Gender and Disaster Pod (GAD Pod), the research was commissioned to gain an understanding of the impact of disasters on LGBTIQ+ communities with a focus on family violence prevention. The full research report and research summary are available on Respect Victoria’s website.
  • Carman, M., Fairchild, J., Parsons, M., Farrugia, C., Power, J. & Bourne, A. (2020). ‘Pride in Prevention: A guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities‘. LaTrobe University.
    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.
  • Hill, Adam O., Bourne, A., McNair, R., Carman, M. & Lyons, A. (2020.) Private Lives 3: The Health and Wellbeing of LGBTIQ People in Australia. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, LaTrobe University. (A national survey of the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people in Australia)
  • 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.

People with disabilities

Information and support

  • 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.

Resources

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Information and support

  • Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria has released translated versions of their Are you safe at home? resources. The resources are now available in Arabic, Hindi, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese, and will be translated into an additional ten languages over the coming weeks.
  • 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.
  • This ‘Healthy Relationships’ video was developed to raise awareness of the difference between a good and a bad relationship. Translations are available in Hindi, Nepali, Swahili and Kinyarwanda via this YouTube playlist. The videos were developed as part of Gateway Health’s ‘Cultural Respectful Relationship Project’. Topics discussed include:

    • What is a healthy relationship?
    • What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?
    • What should you do if there is tension in your relationship?
    • What is the Australian law regarding family violence?
    This easy English information sheet explains the different types of Family Violence and the support services available in Albury and Wodonga. If you would like someone to talk to, call Gateway Health on (02) 6022 8888 or visit their website for more information.

Emergency relief

Emergency relief is to help people meet their basic needs, like food, medicine or shelter.

  • Emergency relief support for people on temporary visas (Australian Red Cross)—Financial relief to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Australian Red Cross has received Government funding specifically to support people who are on temporary visas with a small one-off emergency relief payment. The support is offered to people in Australia with urgent needs who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents and have a need, such as a utility bill or medical expenses, and are unable to meet that need.
  • Emergency relief support – Victoria (Australian Red Cross)—Financial relief, including Extreme Hardship Support Program, to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is targeted to the most vulnerable temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants. Depending on individual need, up to three small emergency relief payments can be made per person or family over the next six months.

Media coverage

Research reports and papers

Recorded webinar

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 is an Aboriginal community controlled organisation established to provide assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault and to work with families and communities affected by violence. Djirra’s legal team can provide free legal advice and representation, including court representation in relation to intervention orders, family law, child protection and victims of crime assistance. Djirra’s doors are still closed but they are available during business hours on freecall 1800 105 303.
  • 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

Media

  • ‘Uncles Advice’—watch this powerful prevention video produced by the Dhelk Dja Action Group in East Gippsland to raise awareness of family violence within Aboriginal communities. Performance by First Nations actor Gregory J. Fryer. Written in consultation with the community group in East Gippsland.

Family, friends and neighbours

Information and support

  • Information for family, friends and neighbours—If you know someone who might be experiencing family violence, find out what to look out for and how you can provide support in this information from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence page of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria. Topics include:
    • Coronavirus (COVID-19) and family violence
    • Supporting friends or family experiencing family violence during COVID-19
    • Safety planning
    • For support

Media coverage

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.

Website safety

  • Websites you look at are stored in your browser. See how to clear your browser history.
  • Many family-violence related websites have a Quick exit button for you to use to easily leave the website. Note that this doesn’t clear the website from your browser history.

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 safesteps@safesteps.org.au
  • 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.

Media coverage

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 food relief providers, contact details and information on eligibility.
  • For emergency relief for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants, or international students, please also visit the Culturally and linguistically diverse communities section.
  • 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.
  • Women who are experiencing homelessness, or have fled domestic and family violence, and are in need of clothing and essential items can book an appointment to attend Our Sister’s Closet at the Women’s Centre for Health & Wellbeing in Albury.
  • 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 answers

  • For regional and State financial support options for low-income families, please see the section above on Children and young people.
  • Banks and utilities may offer domestic violence support such as the Commonwealth Bank or North East Water.
  • WIRE (Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc) has a number of information booklets available to download as PDFs including family violence, money problems with your partner, and separation and property.
  • To speak to a counsellor, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 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.
  • 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 and the Border 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. Uniting Care in Wodonga and Women’s Centre for Health & Wellbeing in Albury are both NILS providers.

  • 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.

Housing issues

If you are renting a home and experiencing family violence, you have options including breaking the lease and leaving the property. For more information about your rights in a family violence situation, visit Family violence – information for tenants and landlords on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website. Here you can learn more about tenants’ rights and responsibilities in a family violence situation including changing the locks, leaving the rental property (breaking the lease), changing the lease, property damage and repairs, and installing security.

Finding or returning to work

  • If you have a job interview and do not have appropriate work attire, you can book an appointment to attend Our Sister’s Closet at the Women’s Centre for Health & Wellbeing in Albury.
  • The Reconnect program is designed to help people turn their life around for the better and to assist them into training and employment. People who have not completed Year 12 or equivalent are eligible for this free program, which is funded by the Victorian Government. This service can help anyone lacking the confidence to make a new start including people escaping domestic violence.
    • Wodonga TAFE provides assistance in Wodonga, Towong, Indigo and Alpine Shires and visits these rural towns on a regular basis. Teaming up with a mentor, participants in the Reconnect program are assisted with developing a plan to help them reach their goals, gain motivation and possibly enrol into study to find employment.
    • GOTAFE delivers the Reconnect Program to Wangaratta, Benalla, Shepparton, Yea and Strathbogie.
  • Skills and Jobs Centres are a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for career-planning advice. These centres are Government-funded, and you don’t have to be a TAFE student to get advice and support.
    • Wodonga TAFE operates eight Skills and Jobs Centre outlets across north-east Victoria. Services provided include free and independent advice on career pathways, job seeking and training opportunities. The service is suitable for people who are looking for a career change, transitioning to new employment opportunities, or looking for work. Staff can provide support in preparing for recruitment or returning to study.
    • GOTAFE provides Skills and Jobs Centres in Wangaratta, Shepparton, Seymour and Benalla.

Court matters

Media coverage

Legal answers

  • The Hume Riverina Community Legal Service (HRCLS) provides free legal advice to people living in North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina of NSW. Call 1800 918 377 or contact them through their website.
    • They provide free legal advice on a range of legal issues including family violence, credit and debt, fines, consumer matters, tenancy/housing, Centrelink, family matters, and a wide range of other everyday legal problems.
    • Advice can be provided over the phone or in person at various locations including Wodonga, Wangaratta, Albury, Finley, Deniliquin, Corowa, Lavington, and Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service.
    • Clients who are experiencing bushfire-related legal issues can access the HRCLS bushfire lawyer, who is visiting Corryong and Bright regularly.

Media coverage

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.

Reform initiatives

  • The Victorian Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 was launched by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams in late 2020. This plan brings together the substantial reform initiatives of the past four years and integrates new and ongoing family violence projects and programs to ensure the system works for victim survivors.

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.

Media coverage of FV workers

Resources and tools

  • Wellbeing and self-care—article on 1800 Respect website for those working with people who have experienced violence and trauma. With work of this nature being extremely demanding, it is important to understand the possible risk factors and do things to support your wellbeing at work and in your personal life.

Family violence jobs

Agencies are able to list jobs with a family violence focus on a new Victorian government 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

Recorded webinars

  • One decade on from Black Saturday, Amanda Kelly, CEO of Women’s Health Goulburn North East, hosted an online discussion with Kinglake residents Daryl Taylor and Jodie Thornycroft in which they reflected on disaster risk and recovery for women, men and children. You can watch the one-hour discussion on YouTube. This discussion was a ‘lead-in’ session being held as part of the Gender Justice in Disaster: Inspiring Action conference, being held in May 2021.
  • ‘Violence against women and mental health’—This webinar was hosted by ANROWS (Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety) in the lead up to their national research conference held in early March 2021. You can access the recording and a research synthesis on the ANROWS website.
  • Family violence and disasters: Year 2 after a disaster can bring new issues to deal with and clinical psychologist Dr Rob Gordon discusses these in his latest video, ‘Getting through the Second Year after Black Summer‘ (64 minutes). This presentation was hosted in early 2021 by Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery Advisors and Mentors Australia.
  • Women with Disabilities Victoria’s 16 Days of Activism event, Respect, Inclusion and Equality: Building workforce capacity to prevent violence against women with disabilities, is available to view online (42 minutes). Held on 3 December 2020, this event launched three new prevention resources (Word documents):
  • ‘Gender equality and preventing family violence: exploring the links’ webinar, presented by the City of Kingston on 2 December 2020 as part of 16 Days of Activism. Hear from Walkley Award winning journalist and author Jess Hill, and an expert panel to explore the root causes of family violence and how we can all play a part in prevention.
  • A webinar series, ‘Responding to the ‘Shadow Pandemic’, was delivered by ​The Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre and Domestic Violence Victoria. Five monthly webinars were held between August and December 2020. Access the five recordings:
    • Women’s mental health during COVID-19. Held on 16 December 2020, speakers were Amanda Dashwood (Family Violence Specialist Advisor, Mental Health), Jane Fisher (Director of Monash Global and Women’s Health), Jayashri Kulkarni (Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre), Women’s Health Victoria and Naomi Pfitzner (Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre).
    • Justice for women during COVID-19. Speakers: Victoria Legal Aid, Women’s Legal Service and Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre (25 November 2020)
    • Keeping Perpetrators ‘in view’ during the COVID restrictions. Speakers: No To Violence, Victoria Police and Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre (21 October 2020)
    • Two Critical Issues: Women on Temporary Visas + Housing & Homelessness (23 September 2020)
    • The ‘Shadow Pandemic’—‘A bubble set to burst’. Held on 19 August 2020, this webinar was a discussion on the impact of COVID on family violence help seeking and service provision.
  • Economics and Beyond—a webinar presented as part of the Women at the Edge series. How has the pandemic affected the gender gap in our economy? And what are the flow-on effects in terms of women’s housing security and health? The panel discussion features Leanne Miller, Angela Jackson, Rowan O’Hagan and host Gabrielle Chan—see event details and speaker bios. This online event was held in partnership between the Wheeler Centre and Women’s Health Goulburn North East on 25 November 2020.
  • 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.
  • A Conversation Hour: Week 16—Becoming a different man. This discussion was hosted by the Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership on 13 August 2020. 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 UHPCP, and Rachel McKay, Training Coordinator at Women’s Health Goulburn North East.

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

Active research

ANROWS (Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety) has recently launched the Register of Active Research. This centralised register aims to provide a comprehensive landscape of research currently in progress in Australia that relates to violence against women and their children.

Research reports and papers

  • Boxall, H. & Sabol, B. (2021, January). ‘Adolescent family violence: Findings from a group-based analysis’. Journal of Family Violence. This study describes and compares different groups among the Victorian population of adolescents who use violence in the home, based on the relationship with their primary victim/survivor—mother, father, younger sibling, older sibling or other family member. The study found key differences between these five groups and identified mothers as higher-risk due to the often frequent and ongoing nature of the violence.
  • Kertesz, M., Humphreys, C. & Larance, L.Y. (2021). ‘Interventions for women who use force in a family context: an Australian Practice Framework’. Melbourne: University of Melbourne. This report outlines the results of a research program about women who use force in the context of family relationships and to increase the capacity of services to respond effectively.
  • Chung, D., Humphreys, C., Campbell, A, Diemer, K, Gallant, D, Spiteri-Staines, A. (2020, December). Fathering programs in the context of domestic and family violence. Child Family Community Australia. This paper examines how men’s behaviour change programs, domestic and family violence specific fathering programs, and Aboriginal men’s healing programs address fathering issues for men who use violence. It presents findings from a scoping review of Australian and international literature to highlight similarities, differences and gaps in programs and explores how these programs could be more inclusive of fathering in the context of domestic and family violence. View key messages and download paper here.
  • National primary prevention report (2020, September)Our Watch has published the first of four national primary prevention reports as part of the National Primary Prevention Hub. Our Watch has been funded to establish the Hub under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

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 (OM–FVP) has recently undertaken a collaborative strategic planning process to involve people across the spectrum of family violence work (i.e. prevention, early intervention, crisis response, and recovery) and to establish a strong foundation for the work of the partnership. The OM–FVP is working towards communities being free from family violence, and the strategic plan includes family violence prevention, early intervention and crisis response activities across all age groups, families and communities in the Ovens Murray. The partnership has gathered 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.

The OM–FVP Strategic Plan 2020–2023 is now available for your viewing and can be downloaded as either a summary or a final report—please visit our Ovens Murray – Family Violence Partnership page.

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…’