24/7 family violence
response phone line
1800 015 188

Have a question about safe steps’ services? Here are some of our most commonly asked questions. Click the arrow beside each question for the answer.

I’m a woman with a disability experiencing family violence, can safe steps help me?
Yes. We understand that women with disabilities experiencing family violence face unique challenges. Our specialist family violence support workers are trained to understand the needs of women with disabilities and find solutions that meet their needs.

If you are a women with a disability, you can call safe steps to talk to a specialist family violence support worker about options and services to increase your safety, including disability-friendly refuges, assistance developing an appropriate safety plan, or options that may allow you to safely stay where you are living while the perpetrator of violence is required by law to leave. Call safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 for assistance or more information.

I’m a transgender woman experiencing family violence, can safe steps help me?
Yes. safe steps is an LGBTIQA-friendly organisation. If you are a trans, non-binary or intersex individual who identifies as female or transfeminine, and are experiencing family violence, you can access all of our services for women. safe steps can help you with over-the-phone support from a specialist family violence support worker, connect you with affiliated LGBTIQA support organisations and, if needed, assist you to enter emergency or refuge accommodation. Call safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 for assistance or more information.
I’m a woman in an abusive same sex relationship, can safe steps help me?
Yes. safe steps is an LGBTIQA-friendly organisation. If you identify as female and are experiencing family violence, you can access all of our services for women. safe steps can help you with over-the-phone support from a specialist family violence support worker, connect you with LGBTIQA support organisations and, if needed, assist you to enter emergency or refuge accommodation. Call safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 for assistance or more information.
I’m a man experiencing family violence, can safe steps help me?
safe steps specialises in supporting women and children who are experiencing family violence. However, there are other organisations that do support men experiencing family violence. These include:

  • MensLine – telephone and online counselling for men with family and relationship concerns all over Australia
  • Mens Referral Service – telephone counselling, information and referrals for men in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania
  • 1800 RESPECT – national counselling helpline, information and support 24/7
  • Domestic Violence Resource Centre – has information for male survivors of family violence here

If you are a gay, trans, or intersex man or transmasculine-identifying person experiencing family violence you might also consider the following organisations:

  • Victorian Aids Council– counselling and financial assistance to survivors of family violence within the LGBTIQA communities
  • Queerspace at Drummond Street – counselling and support for survivors of family violence within the LGBTIQA communities
  • Switchboard – Victorian organisation that provides support services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) people
Can safe steps help me if I don’t have permanent Australian residency?
Yes. If you don’t have Permanent Residency (PR) safe steps can help you, particularly with accessing emergency and refuge accommodation and connecting you with migrant and refugee support services. Call safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 for assistance or more information.
Can safe steps help me if I have children?
Yes. More than half of the women safe steps assist have children. We will do whatever we can to increase and ensure the safety of you and your children. Click here to see our services for women and children or call safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 for assistance.
Can safe steps help me if I’m pregnant?
Yes. We understand that when a woman is pregnant she is often at higher risk of experiencing severe family violence. We can help you to become safe during your pregnancy and continue supporting you with family violence issues after you have given birth. Click here to see our services for women and children or call safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 for assistance.
Can I call the safe steps phone line for counselling?
The safe steps response phone line is primarily intended to help women experiencing family violence who need immediate practical support and assistance. However, safe steps is able to refer you to over-the-phone counselling through our partnership with 1800 RESPECT. See recovery services.
I’m being abused but I don’t want to leave the relationship right now, call I still call the safe steps phone line?
Yes. We understand not all women will want to leave their relationship. Other women might feel it is safer for them to continue living in the home while they take steps to separate – such as arranging finances, getting intervention orders, or determining where they will move to. safe steps believes no one knows better than a women what she should do to maintain her safety. We try to support women whatever they wish to do.

If you intend to stay in the home, it is still a good idea to call safe steps. One of our specialist family violence support workers can assist you to develop a safety plan designed to keep you and your children safe, and if needed, help you plan how you can leave safely at a later date.

I’m not sure if I’m being abused or not, what should I do?
It’s completely understandable to be unsure if what you are experiencing is abuse because abuse is often not obvious or happening all the time. Some good places to start are our Types of Abuse page or Early Warning Signs of Abuse list.