VISION, Mission & Values

Our vision:

Women and children living free from violence

Our aim:
Be the voice for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and children by providing a state-wide immediate response that informs, protects and connects women and children so they are safe

Build the voice of women and children to influence research, policy, service provision and the wider community to eliminate violence

Our focus:
The primary focus is on women and children experiencing family violence

Work with all who want to eliminate violence against women and children

Our values:
Our values underpin the way we deliver services and engage with those who access support. The core values of safe steps Family Violence Response Centre are:

  • Non-violent
  • Empowering
  • Feminist*
  • Ethical and respectful
  • Collaborative
  • Authoritative and evidence based

*Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality with men


Annette Gillespie CEOI am privileged to lead an organisation that has the safety and empowerment of women and their children at the centre of everything it does.  As the 24/7 state-wide central family violence responder safe steps Family Violence Response Centre provides a critical pathway into the specialist family violence system.

We are particularly proud of our response to women and children living with violence, particularly women with disabilities, women with high and complex needs, and women who are further disadvantaged because they do not have permanent residency status.

It’s a new world, things are changing – we are too – we are doing things differently so we can meet the ever increasing demand on our services.

We are changing the way we respond to women and children accessing support.

We are changing to accommodate the increase in women who are presenting at high risk.

As the family violence specialist in danger and lethality risk assessment it is essential that safe steps maintains an immediate response to women and children affected by family violence.  As such, we have enhanced our crisis response process, and upgraded our telephone and call tracking system to ensure that our clients receive an instant, focused and best practice response at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

safe steps is an evidence based organisation.  Internally we collate and analyse significant amounts of data each year to identify what drives the ever increasing demand on our services for women and children experiencing family violence.  We have identified that not only are there more women accessing our service but that they are reporting a greater number of high risk factors and staying in our service for longer than ever before.

Externally, we focus on understanding national trends.  Data collected in the past 12 months in partnership with other state-wide crisis lines across Australia includes increasing numbers of women accessing family violence crisis line services who do not have permanent residency.

Our vital work saves lives, empowers women and disrupts the patterns of inter-generational abuse by protecting children from experiencing or witnessing further violence.

But there is still much to do. I hope as you read this, you will consider supporting safe steps and commit to our goal to eliminate violence against women and children.  There are many things you can do to help: spread the word amongst your social media contacts and friends to support safe steps; make a financial donation; participate in one of our events or invite us to speak at your community group or workplace gathering.

Your support will make a difference, and possibly even save a woman and her children from serious injury or death. Thank you.

Annette Gillespie
Chief Executive Officer   


safe steps Family Violence Response Centre is incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 and is governed by a board of directors who are responsible for the strategic direction that will lead the organisation to achieving its values and goals.

Working closely with the Chief Executive Officer, the Board monitors the performance of safe steps to achieve the strategic goals of the organisation and to build strong foundations that will secure long term sustainability.

The Board’s primary role is to ensure that the activities of safe steps are directed towards achieving its mission to be the voice for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and children. The Board ensures that this mission is achieved in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Collectively the Board Members of safe steps bring extensive experience and diverse skills to support the Chief Executive Officer to implement the strategic plan, which include: financial, family law, communications, information technology, welfare and justice.

safe steps Board of Directors

Candy Broad (Chair)

Candy Broad (Chair)

Jen Allen

Jen Allen

Christine Gibbs

Christine Gibbs

Gayle King (Treasurer)

Gayle King (Treasurer)

Cora Clough

Cora Clough

Gayathri Paramasivam

Gayathri Paramasivam

Joan Richardson

Joan Richardson

Wendy Steendam

Wendy Steendam

Pam Newton

Pam Newton

Click here to view the safe steps Family Violence Response Centre constitution.

CLIENT Services

Family violence 24/7 response

If you have been threatened or you and your family are in danger now – call 000 Emergency or Police

Services offered

safe steps offers at no cost to women, their children (family and friends) living with family violence, access to professional support through a comprehensive range of services to enable them to become – and stay – free from violence.

24-hour family violence response

Women and children living with family violence, or someone who knows a person living with family violence, can call the safe steps response line from anywhere in Australia, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our crisis support advocates are on hand to help women explore their options and escape abuse.

Safety planning

Keeping you and your children safe whether you are still in the relationship or have left is vital.   Preparing a safety plan today, might help you and your children if there is a risk of violence in the future.

If you feel you are in an unsafe relationship or environment, planning for you and your children’s safety is an important step to minimise future risk.

You can call the safe steps 24/7 response line on 1800 015 188 if you need guidance on the next steps to planning your safety.

To read further information on preparing a safety plan click here

Safe house accommodation

When women and their children are at high risk of injury or death, our priority is to always get them to a safe place. This often means helping to move them to safe accommodation where they will be free from danger.

Safe house accommodation is typically short term. During their stay, safe steps will continue to work through options with the woman to determine what her next steps might be in finding permanent safety solutions.

Refuge accommodation

Refuge is a longer-term option than safe house accommodation. It gives women the time and space to make decisions about their futures, including securing private rental accommodation, enrolling children in new schools and negotiating work leave arrangements. safe steps advocates on behalf of women to find them a refuge that will meet their needs.

Outreach services

Not all women want to leave their homes. Their children may be settled in the local school, or they may want to stay close to employment or their friends and family. safe steps work with women to help them find alternative solutions. We might talk to them at safe times in their own homes or in discreet places in the community. We can help women draw up safety plans, progress applications for Intervention Orders, assist with emergency financial payments, and provide emotional support.


Not every woman who calls our response line will want or need emergency support. Some simply want to know what domestic violence is and callers don’t have to give us their name if they don’t want to. Our crisis support advocates can answer questions and offer advice on topics such as the warning signs of abuse in relationships, technology safety tips, how to help a family member or friend who is experiencing domestic violence, and the impacts of violence on children.


safe steps champions the voices of women and children experiencing domestic violence to influence positive changes in the sector. We advocate for policy changes, legal reform, better services, increased funding and to keep domestic violence high on the political agenda and prominent in the social discourse.

We actively engage with government and in the last year lodged a submission to support the enquiry into child sex abuse.

safe steps delivers the best possible service and outcome for women and children affected by family violence. To achieve these and to be the leader in our field, we regularly review our practices and processes in line with international best practice to deliver the highest level of service.

We keep the campaign alive by having a strong presence in traditional media and new media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


safe steps Family Violence Response Centre is the state-wide 24/7 service for women and their children experiencing violence providing immediate support, information, advocacy, referral and emergency accommodation. safe steps is the central point of contact for the specialist family violence service system across Victoria.

These are the positions currently available at safe steps.

Program Leader Response Services  


  • How would you like the opportunity to be at the centre of the biggest change in the family violence sector in Australia’s history? Here’s your chance to contribute to the elimination of the biggest scourge of our time – violence against women and children
  • Full time – 12 month fixed term contract
  • Thursday to Monday 1pm-9.30pm
  • Based in North Melbourne
  • $75K per annum plus super and generous salary packaging available
  • Attractive employee benefits

safe steps
Family Violence Response Centre is the state-wide 24/7 service for women and children experiencing violence providing immediate support, information, advocacy, referral and emergency accommodation. safe steps is the central point of contact for the specialist family violence service system across Victoria.

This is an outstanding opportunity to make a real difference at the centre of the biggest changes in the family violence sector in Australia’s history. You will be working in a feminist organisation with supportive and friendly colleagues and managers that are committed both to ending family violence and your ongoing development.

This senior position:

  • Oversees the day-to-day functions of, on-site monitoring and allocation of tasks, to the Response Services Team
  • Monitors and report on the support provided to women and their children who contact safe steps
  • Provides support, information, and assistance to staff
  • Works directly with women and their children who are experiencing family violence
  • Ensures the service provides a holistic family assessment to identify and assess a broad range of family needs
  • Maintains relationships with key stakeholders
  • You will have experience in working in the family violence, mental health, housing or drug and alcohol sectors including experience in leading and supporting a team of community based service workers. You are outcomes-focused, working efficiently and accurately, and are passionate about driving your team to deliver high quality services. Knowledge of and established relationships within the Victorian Integrated Family Violence System is desirable.

    safe steps has an Equal Opportunity Exemption and applications for this role are open to female candidates only under Section 28 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Women with a disability, Indigenous women and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

    All offers of employment are subject to satisfactory background checks including a National Police Check (including an international police check if resided continuously in an overseas country for 12 months or more in the last ten years), Working with Children Check, disclosure of previous or current disciplinary action, referee checks, proof of eligibility to work in Australia and qualification checks.

    Apply for this position by submitting your CV by 9am 30 June 2017 to For further information, contact Lisa Hoffmann on 03 9928 9600 or Click here for a full position description. Previous applicants need not apply.


safe steps has an Equal Opportunity exemption to employ only women – EO Exemption A366/2011.

Click here for information on volunteering with safe steps.


Annual Report 2015-6

To view/download our 2015-6 Annual Report, please click here.

Annual Report 2014-5

To view/download our 2014-5 Annual Report, please click here.

Annual Report 2013-4

To view/download our 2013-4 Annual Report, please click here.


TBC. Watch this space.


If you have been threatened or you are fearful for yourself, a child or a family member – call 000 Emergency or Police

Call safe steps Family Violence Response 1800 015 188 24 hours 7 days per week

Head Office for safe steps family violence response centre:


Phone: (03) 9928 9600

Fax: (03) 9928 9601

Postal: GPO Box 4396 Melbourne Victoria 3001


1. Our commitment to privacy

Your privacy is a top priority for us.

When dealing with your personal information we observe our obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and comply with the Australian Privacy Principles, as well other relevant State legislation.

This policy sets out how we will collect, use, store, disclose and de-identify your personal information.

2. The types of information we collect

The types of personal information we collect include:

  • contact details (name, address, telephone numbers, email, etc);
  • employment history;
  • educational qualifications;
  • complaint details;
  • donation history; and
  • credit card and/or bank account details.

The types of sensitive information we collect include records of communication between us, which may include from time to time, information you provide us or we collect from others. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of information:

  • professional and practice information;
  • health information;
  • racial or ethnic origin;
  • personal financial information;
  • demographics;
  • personal credit card data; and
  • any idiosyncratic or personal formation we obtain from you or others about you.

3. Why we collect private information about you

safe steps Family Violence Response centre (safe steps) is a state-wide not-for-profit service for women and children experiencing violence and abuse from a partner or ex-partner, another family member or someone close to them. safe steps provides emergency accommodation, a free 24-hour crisis line, outreach services, advocacy, referral, and information and support services to enable women and children to become – and stay – free from violence.

We collect information about our clients and about potential supporters of our organisation.

In respect of our clients, we collect personal and sensitive information in order to provide our services. Given the scope and nature of the services we provide, we may be obliged to disclose this information to others. We may also receive personal and /or sensitive information about you from a third party.

In respect of potential supporters of our organisation, we collect information so as to allow us to communicate with them, introduce them to our organisation and inform them of the work we do.

We do not use the information in any way other than in the furtherance of our objects and purposes.

We might also use your information for the following purposes:

  • for the immediate reason for which you have provided it to us (for example, to enable us offer our services to you, to provide assistance and/or referrals, to process your request, payment, etc);
  • to maintain contact with you about our work, to report to you about our work, or to encourage you to learn about what we do; and
  • any other purpose directly related to our work and for which you have provided consent (where it is reasonably required by law).

We don’t rent, sell or exchange your information. The types of organisations to whom we normally disclose your personal information include government bodies as required by law such as Department of Justice, Victoria Police, Department of Human Services or service providers that are funded by government and subject to government data collection and audit processes.

We take reasonable steps to ensure that these organisations are bound by confidentiality and privacy obligations when handling your personal information.

If you don’t want your personal information disclosed to another organisation, please let us know either at the time we collect your information or any later time.

Sometimes we may be legally required to disclose your information, for example, to government departments.

We may also sometimes share non-personal, non-sensitive and de-identified information with research organisations.

4. How we collect your information

We may collect information from you either directly. Information we collect from third parties may be by formal or informal means.

Where we collect information from third parties and it is not personal information that is contained in a Commonwealth Record, we will take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify the information as required by law.

We collect personal information about clients, supporters, donors, volunteers, employees, contractors and visitors to our events. We collect your information in the following ways:

  • face to face contact;
  • electronically including through our website and online surveys;
  • via social media messages or conversation;
  • during phone calls;
  • voice or image recordings;
  • whilst delivering and administering services at our facilities; and
  • from forms, coupons and other correspondence (both in writing and electronically).

5. How we use your information

We only use your personal and sensitive information for the reason we collect it as set out above and for the purpose(s) for which it was collected, or as otherwise permitted by law.

We will not disclose the above information that we collect to affiliates or third parties without your consent.

6. Accessing and correcting your personal information

You can access your information by asking us. Occasionally, we may need to refuse your request to access information, for example, where granting you access would infringe someone else’s privacy.

When you request access, we will ask you to provide some form of identification so that we can ensure that you are the person to whom the information relates.

In some cases, we may also ask you to pay a reasonable fee to cover the cost of access.

If you have a question about this privacy policy or want to access your personal information you can contact the Privacy Officer by email or call the Privacy Officer on (03) 9928 9600.

We will aim to respond to you within 28 days of receiving your request.

If we’re not able to help with your request, you will receive a written explanation as to why.

7. Complaints about a breach of your privacy

If you are concerned about how we have collected or managed your personal information we request you click here to complete the online complaint form or follow the procedure set out below.

  1. Contact the Privacy Officer by email or call the Privacy Officer on (03) 9928 9600.
  2. Download and complete the Complaints Form. (click to download PDF)
  3. Submit your completed Complaints Form to the Privacy Officer by email or post to GPO Box 4396 Melbourne Vic 3001. In order to effectively address your complaint, we may request further information from you about your complaint and the reasons behind it.
  4. After we receive all the information we need from you, allow us approximately 28 days to address your complaint.

If you’re not satisfied with how we have handled your complaint you can also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) on

The OAIC is a government body independent of us. It has the power to investigate complaints about possible interference with your privacy.

8. Securing your information

We take reasonable steps to ensure the security of personal and sensitive information we hold and to protect it against loss, misuse or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure.

Our IT systems are password protected and comply with applicable security standards.

Only authorised personnel are permitted to access these details.

It is our policy to:

  • permanently de-identify personal information where reasonable and possible; and
  • destroy personal information once there is no longer a legal or business need for us to retain it.

9. Anonymity

It is your right to be dealt with anonymously, provided that is it lawful and practicable.

We will try to accommodate a request for anonymity wherever possible; however we note that in some circumstances, this may prevent us from practically and effectively communicating with you.

If this is the case we will notify you.

10. Health information

As part of our services, we may collect health information (such as your medical history).

When collecting health information from you, we will obtain your consent to such collection and explain how the information will be used and disclosed.

If health information is collected from a third party (such as from your doctor), we will inform you that this information has been collected and will explain how this information will be used and disclosed.

We will not use health information beyond the consent provided by you, unless your further consent is obtained or in accordance with one of the exceptions under the Privacy Act or in accordance with another applicable law.

If we use your health information for research or statistical purposes, it will be de-identified if practicable to do so.

 11. Cookies and links to other websites


When you visit this website a record of your visit is logged. The following data is supplied by your browser:

  • Your IP address and/or domain name;
  • Your operating system (type of browser and platform);
  • The date, time and length of your visit to the website; and
  • The resources you accessed and the documents you downloaded.

To improve our website, we use ‘cookies’ in order to track individuals who use our website. A cookie is a small amount of data that is transferred to the individual’s browser by a Web server and can only be read by the server that gave it to the individual. It functions as the individual’s identification card, and enables us to record the individual’s passwords, purchases, and preferences. It cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses.

Most browsers are initially set to accept cookies. An individual can set their browser to notify them when they receive a cookie, giving them the chance to decide whether to accept it or not. (For some Web pages that require an authorisation or for our online donations, cookies are not optional. Users choosing not to accept cookies will probably not be able to access those pages.)

This information is used to compile statistical information about the use of our website. It is not used for any other purpose. If you do not want ‘cookies’ to be used please adjust your browser settings to disable them.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to third party websites, and third party websites may also have links to our website.

Our privacy policy does not apply to external links or other websites*. The operators of other websites may collect your personal information.

We encourage you to read the privacy policies of any website you link to from our website.

*The online donation form is an exception as it is an external site embedded on our site therefore does not collect information.

12. Social media policy

Click here to view our social media policy.

Social Media Policy

Social media platforms provide a great opportunity to support safe steps and to influence social change to eliminate violence against women and children.

Whilst using social media to advocate for the rights for women and children to be safe and live free of violence, we do so within the parameters of the following guidelines.

If you have any queries about these guidelines, please contact the Manager Marketing, Fundraising & Communications via

Advice and support

safe steps does not provide advice or support to anyone who is experiencing family violence or to someone who knows or is close to a person experiencing family violence via its social media accounts. This includes answering specific questions or queries concerning someone experiencing family violence.

safe steps will not provide support via its social media accounts, regarding a life threatening or crisis situation.

If you require assistance, please contact our 24/7 crisis line number on 1800 015 188 (toll free). Or in an emergency, please dial 000.

Availability and feedback

safe steps aims to engage online and welcomes feedback from its followers and supporters.

safe steps endeavours to read all replies, mentions and messages on social media but will not always reply individually to every message received.

Social media accounts are generally monitored regularly during business hours, Monday to Friday.


If you follow safe steps on Twitter (@safestepsFV or @safestepsCEO) this does not mean that the safe steps will automatically follow you back.

If followed by safe steps this does not imply endorsement of any kind by the organisation. Similarly, re-tweets by safe steps does not necessarily imply endorsements.

Facebook Supporters

safe steps Facebook page is public and we welcome anyone who wishes to become a supporter however this does not imply endorsement of any kind by the safe steps.

Comment Moderation

Comments which include harassment, inappropriate language, and/or personal abuse will be removed. safe steps retains the right to remove such comments at our discretion.

We also retain the right and at our discretion to remove comment that conflict with the ethical position, values and beliefs of the safe steps.

Values that underpin the organisation are:

  • Non violent
  • Empowering
  • Feminist (feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality with men)
  • Ethical and respectful
  • Collaborative
  • Authoritative and evidence based

safe steps believes that violence against women and children:

  • Is a violation of human rights, a crime against women, children and society; and the entire community is responsible for its elimination;
  • Is an abuse of power based on gender, race, class, disability, sexuality and age inequality; and
  • Includes emotional, psychological, physical, sexual and financial abuse.

Comments, posts and tweets made on safe steps social media accounts that contain private and/or confidential information, such as telephone numbers and addresses, will be removed.

Off topic and repetitive comments on our social media channels and blog may be removed. We invite feedback – however it is best shared by emailing

Any comment on a safe steps social media account that is defamatory or potentially defamatory, in breach of confidence, prejudicial, and/or in contempt of court will be removed.

You can find safe steps on the following social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram

13. Returns and refunds policy

Donations of $2 or more to safe steps Family Violence Response Centre are tax deductible.
Charitable donations to safe steps Family Violence Response Centre are non-refundable.


If you have any compliments, complaints or suggestions for improvement, please direct your feedback in writing to:

Annette Gillespie, CEO
safe steps Family Violence Response Centre
GPO Box 4396
Victoria 3001