FAMILY VIOLENCE 24/7 Response

Family Violence 24/7 Response

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.

SERVICES Offered

safe steps Family Violence Response Centre provides at no cost a range of professional support services for women and children experiencing violence and abuse from a partner or ex-partner, another family member or someone close to them.

Keeping you and your children safe whether you are still in the relationship or have left it is our priority.

Family violence is unacceptable and can take many forms.

It includes behaviour that is violent, threatening, intimidating or controlling and causes you and your children to be fearful.

We know how hard it can be to make a call to seek help and to acknowledge that you are not being treated properly. You may be feeling confused, have lost confidence in your own judgement and your ability to make decisions, or to make any changes in your life.

When you call the safe steps 24/7 response service, keeping you and your children safe, whether you are still in the relationship or have left it is our priority. safe steps crisis support advocates are on hand to help you explore your options and to escape abuse.

Our services include:

Risk assessment to establish how safe you and your children are

Crisis accommodation if you are at risk and need to leave the abusive environment

Safety planning if there is risk of violence in the future and you need to leave suddenly

Support to enable you to make decisions for a safer future

Information about options, rights and entitlements

Helping you and your children to stay safely in your own home while the violent or abusive person is required by law to leave or to leave your home (sometimes temporarily) until the abuser leaves

Advocacy with support services, the police and criminal justice systems, legal services, Centrelink, schools

Referral by putting you in touch with local support agencies

Telephone support and information for non-offending family members and friends

SAFETY Planning

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

Your safety and that of your children is our priority.

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, then taking steps to plan for you and your children’s safety is an important step to assess your needs and to take control of your life.

Leaving a relationship safely and remaining safe will be more effective if you have your safety plan ready.  Keep your plan and any associated paper work hidden from your partner. 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.

YOUR SAFETY PLAN

A safety plan includes:

Contact numbers – keep your list of emergency help contacts handy

Where to go – have in mind a place where you and your children can go quickly, such as a friend’s house

How to get there – work out how you and your children will get there, such as being picked up by your friend, or taking a taxi or other public transport

Who to ask for help – if you can, share with supportive friends, family and neighbours what is happening. Arrange for a friend, relative or carer to come quickly when you call and help you to leave

Ready cash – if you can, keep some cash aside for emergencies

Keep valuables together – keep valuables and documents together in a safe place in case you need to leave in a hurry. These may include credit/debit cards, birth certificates, passports, medications, prescriptions, Medicare card, driver’s licence and family photographs. If you can, make copies of these documents and leave them with a trusted friend, just in case you can’t take them when you go.

If you think you and your children are at risk of violence or violence has started you need to:

  • Leave the situation if possible
  • Identify areas of the house where you cannot become trapped, where there are windows and doors and no weapons
  • Know and practice the easiest escape routes from the house including which doors and windows provide a quick escape
  • Hide a spare key to the house and car in a safe and secure place outside, together with money
  • Plan where you will go in advance
  • Identify a neighbour you can trust and tell about the violence; ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your house
  • Develop a code or signal between you to alert them you are in danger
  • Teach your children to phone 000 and practice what to say
  • If it is safe (i.e. the abuser in not present) call the safe steps 24 hour response line on 1800 015 188
  • Call the police as soon as it is safe to report the incident. The police can also arrange safe  accommodation for you and your children

It is essential for children who live in violent environments to have a simple safety plan so they know what to do when domestic violence is occurring, this could include:

  • Warning children to stay out of the conflict
  • Decide ahead of time on a safe place the children can go when they feel unsafe.
  • Teach children how to use Police and other emergency phone numbers

Are you planning to leave a relationship or planning to stay for now?

(click to download PDF)
(click to download Word)

Things to consider after you have left a relationship.

(click to download PDF)
(click to download Word)

Guide for when planning to stay at home. 

(click to download PDF)
(click to download Word)

Contact the Victim Assistance program in your state:

VIC: 1800 819 817 (Victorian Victims of Crime Helpline – will refer you to your local Victim Assistance program)

ACT: (02) 6205 2066

NSW: (02) 4961 4755

QLD: 1300 546 587

NT: (08) 8941 0995

SA: (08) 8231 5626

TAS: (03) 6233 5002

WA: (08) 9425 2850

The police can also undertake a safety assessment of the property. For further information contact your local Police Crime Prevention Officer.

TECHNOLOGY Safety

If you are worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.

If you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, the safest way is to access the internet at a local library, an internet cafe, friend’s house or at work.

How can an abuser discover your internet activities? 

Computer spyware is becoming very easy to purchase and install on home computers. You may think that you are safe to access a home computer, not knowing that what you do is being tracked.

Abusers can also look at the history of sites you’ve visited easily.

As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, words entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited.

Below are some suggestions in technology safety planning:

Use a safe computer

It is difficult to delete or clear all of the ‘tracks’ of your online or computer activities. Try to use a safe computer at a public library, community centre, internet café or trusted friend or family member. If the person who is abusive to you has access to your computer, he/she might be monitoring your computer activities.

Safe “surfing”

The safety issue with internet surfing is that all ‘browsers’ automatically store information about the websites you have visited on your computer in a variety of ways. This enables someone using that computer to find out what websites you have been visiting.

History can be erased so no one else can see what sites you have visited.

You will need to look at how to “erase browse history” on the browser you use.

You can then select to delete (or erase) browse history. Some browsers also allow you to click an option to automatically erase the browse history each time, so when you close the internet the history is automatically removed.

Create a new email, Facebook or instant messaging account

Consider creating a new email account on a safe computer. Do not create or check this new email from a computer your abuser has access to in case it is monitored. Create an anonymous name, and account: (example: snowflake@email.com) do not create a new account using your real name. Use free web-based email accounts (like yahoo, gmail or hotmail) and do not provide any information about yourself.

When you are finished sending your emails from a free email make sure that you always sign out completely, especially if you are using the home computer. Click your username at the top right of the screen then click ‘sign out’. Even if someone uses the ‘back’ button on the internet browser, or tries to view the computer’s ‘history’, they won’t be able to read your emails.

Check your mobile phone settings

If you are using a mobile phone provided by the abusive person, consider turning it off when not in use. When on, check the phone settings; if your phone has an optional location service, you may want to switch the location feature off/on via the phone settings menu or by turning your phone on and off.

Get your own mobile phone

When making or receiving private calls or arranging escape plans, try not to use a shared or family mobile phone because the mobile phone bill and the phone log might reveal your plans to an abuser. Consider using a prepaid phone card so that you won’t get numbers listed on your bill.

Change passwords and pin numbers

Think about changing the passwords for any password protected accounts – online banking, voicemail, etc. Use a safer computer to access your accounts.

Cyberstalking

You can report abuse, violence, threats, stalking or cyber-stalking to police and the abuser can be charged with a criminal offence, or police can assist with applying for an Intervention Order. Messages left via texts/answering machines can be saved as evidence of stalking or abuse. Keep a record of all suspicious incidents.

LIVING with a Disability

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

Women with disabilities, like their abled counterparts, are wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, lovers, carers and mothers. Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or class, women with disabilities are assaulted, raped and abused at a rate of at least two times greater than women without a disability.

Women living with disabilities are likely to experience family violence at higher rates and over longer periods of time than women without disabilities. Leaving a violent relationship is hard for any woman, but for a woman with a disability, it is even harder.

Traditional strategies for escaping family violence – such as, taking out an intervention order, or going to live with family or friends, or finding safe accommodation – are difficult for a woman with a disability who may have restricted mobility or be dependent on her abuser for care.

Getting help

If you have been threatened, are in danger or have been injured call 000 now for emergency assistance

Call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response on 1800 015 188 if you would like further information on how to become safe from abuse.

Our trained team of specialists will support you and assist you to develop strategies and strategies to keep you and your children safe. They can also assist you to find a safe place to stay.

Have a safety plan

If you cannot leave the relationship at the moment, there are some ways you can increase your safety. It may help to devise a safety plan that you can use if you have to leave suddenly.

A safety plan includes:

  • Contact numbers: keep your list of emergency help contacts handy.
  • Where to go: have in mind a place where you and your children can go quickly, such as a friend’s house
  • How to get there: work out how you and your children will get there, such as being picked up by your friend, or taking a taxi or other public transport
  • Who to ask for help: if you can, let supportive friends, family and neighbours know about what is happening. Arrange for a friend, relative or carer to come quickly when you call and to help you to leave
  • Ready cash: if you can, keep some cash aside for emergencies
  • Keep valuables together: keep valuables and documents together in a safe place in case you need to leave in a hurry. These may include credit/debit cards, birth certificates, passports, medications, prescriptions, Medicare card, driver’s licence and family photographs. If you can, make copies of these documents and leave them with a trusted friend, just in case you can’t take them when you go.

Your children

  • Let your children know what to do in an emergency (where to go and who to telephone – give them telephone numbers for the police, neighbours and relatives)
  • Talk to your children about violence and reinforce with them that it is wrong to use violence against anybody
  • Reassure them that they aren’t responsible in any way for causing the violence
  • Come up with a code word you can use to warn your children if they need to leave the house in a hurry

Important things to remember

If you are living with a disability and you and your children are experiencing family violence please remember:

  • Violence of any kind is a crime and never OK
  • It is never your fault
  • There are laws to protect you
  • Without intervention, it is likely the violence will continue and may get worse
  • You don’t deserve to be abused and you don’t have to live with it

INFO for Family and Friends

Your support can make a difference

It can be very worrying when someone you care about is being hurt or abused by their partner.

Your help can make a great difference to someone who is abused. How you respond is important.

If you provide support and encouragement, the person may feel stronger and more able to make decisions. If they feel judged or criticised, they may become afraid to tell anyone else about the abuse in the future.

Abuse in relationships is quite common and is mainly committed by men against women. Much of this abuse is witnessed by children.

What is abuse?

Every couple has arguments or disagreements. In a respectful and equal relationship, both partners feel free to state their opinions, to make their own decisions, to be themselves, and to say no to sex.

But this is not the case when someone is abusive. In an abusive relationship, one partner tries to dominate the other through physical harm, criticisms, demands, threats, or sexual pressure. For the woman and her children, this behaviour can be very dangerous, frightening, confusing and damaging.

Psychological or emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse. Abuse in a relationship is never acceptable, regardless of the circumstances, and is never the fault of the woman. Abuse is not caused by alcohol, or stress, or by the woman’s behaviour. Abuse happens because the abuser wants to control and manipulate the other person. Physical and sexual assault, threats and stalking are crimes and can be reported to the police.

Why doesn’t she just leave? 

For women experiencing violence, it can be very difficult to leave an abusive partner. This is an important thing for friends and family to understand. There are many reasons why it may be so hard to leave.

  • She is afraid of what the abuser will do if she leaves
  • She still loves her partner, because he or she is not abusive all of the time
  • She has a commitment to the relationship or a belief that marriage is forever, for ‘better or worse’
  • She hopes her partner will change. Sometimes the abusive person might promise to change.
  • She thinks the abuse is her fault
  • She feels she should stay ‘for the sake of the children’
  • A lack of confidence. The person who is abusive will have deliberately tried to break down their partner’s confidence, and make her feel like she is stupid, hopeless, and responsible for the abuse.
  • Isolation and loneliness. The person who is abusive may have tried to cut her off from contact with family or friends.
  • Pressure to stay in the relationship from family, her community or church. She might fear rejection from her community or family if she leaves.
  • She may feel that she can’t get away from her partner because they live in a rural area, or because they have the same friends, or are part of the same ethnic, indigenous or religious community.
  • She doesn’t have the means to survive if the relationship ends. She might not have anywhere to live, or access to money, or transport, particularly if she lives in an isolated area. She may be dependent upon her partner’s income. If she has a disability, she may depend upon the abuser for assistance.

It is very important that you do not make her feel that there is something wrong with her because she hasn’t left. This will only reinforce her low confidence and feelings of guilt and self-blame.

Leaving an abusive partner may sometimes be quite dangerous. The abuse may continue or increase after she leaves. Help her to weigh up her feelings, to decide what she can do, and to consider her safety whether she decides to stay or to leave.

What you can do to help her? 

The most important thing you can do is to listen without judging, respect her decisions, and help her to find ways to become stronger and safer.

LGBTQ

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals (LGBTQ) may experience intimate partner abuse in same or opposite sex relationships.

Family violence can occur in all sorts of relationships. It is important to remember that regardless of your sexuality or gender identity, if you experience violence it is never your fault and you do not have to put up with it.

Specialist support services are needed to support LGBTQ experiencing family violence and more research needs to be done into the experiences and needs of people of diverse sex, sexuality and gender.

If you are experiencing any form of family violence you might consider making a safety plan. A safety plan can set out what you could do under certain circumstances to help reduce the risk of emotional or physical injury to yourself (and your children). Your safety plan can include strategies for reducing risk to yourself while living with your partner or it may outline how you could get away.

Living with an abusive partner

If you are living with an abusive partner there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of injury to yourself (and your children). Click here for information on safety planning. (link to safety planning tab)

The following services may also be able to assist you.

Another Closet
http://www.anothercloset.com.au

Gay Lesbian Health Victoria
http://www.glhv.org.au/category/topic/domestic-violence

Men’s Lines Australia
http://www.menslineaus.org.au/Family-violence-in-same-sex-relationships.html

The Gender Centre
http://www.gendercentre.org.au/kits.htm

No to Violence Male Family Violence Prevention Association
http://ntv.org.au

TRANSLATOR Services

safe steps assists women living with family violence from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to access interpreter services.

If you or someone you care about is living with family violence, and speaks limited or no English, you can call safe steps on 1800 015 188. Either one of our multi lingual staff may be able to assist or we will arrange an interpreter for you.

All you need to do is tell us:

  • your number
  • your language
  • when it is safe to call

We will call you back with a telephone interpreter.

If a woman you know is unable to speak English to give us this information they can have someone ring us on their behalf to set up the telephone call.

Our brochures are available as printable PDFs in English, Arabic, Dari, Hindi, Mandarin, Persian and Farsi, Sudanese, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
If you’re a community service provider and would like multi-language for your clients, email admin@safesteps.org.au for bulk orders.

PETS in Crisis

Sadly, pets are affected by family violence. They are readily available and silent targets for violence and can be used to manipulate the person experiencing abuse by threatening harm to the pet. Pets may also suffer from emotional abuse in the home. Your special friend will be aware of the emotional pain and heartbreak within the home, and may also be affected by it.

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, pets cannot be taken into crisis care shelters and this can mean that a situation is prolonged because the person experiencing abuse doesn’t want to leave the pet in danger. Recognising this, there are some organisations that can assist in these emergency situations, until the situation is resolved and the pet can be reunited with their family.

If you need to place your pet in temporary care contact one of the following agencies:

TAS: Shelter Tasmania: 1800 800 588 (free call).

VIC: Animal Aid Pets in Peril (03) 9739 0300

NSW: RSPCA Safe Bed (02) 9782 4408

QLD: RSPCA 1800 811 811

WA: Shelter WA (08) 9300 0340

GENERAL Info

Family violence is a crime
It is violation of human rights
You have the right to be safe and to be free from abuse

safe steps Family Violence Response Centre (formerly Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service) is the state-wide service for women and children experiencing violence and abuse from a partner or ex-partner, another family member or someone close to them.

Family violence can happen to anyone but in 95% of reported incidents, it is mainly committed by men against women, children and other vulnerable people. It is endemic in the community and affects people of all walks of life regardless of age, culture, sexual identity, ability, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status.

safe steps provides a comprehensive range of services at no charge to support women and children living with violence. These services include: emergency accommodation, a 24/7 crisis line, risk assessment, safety planning, outreach services, advocacy, referral, information and support.

Violence can take many forms and is when someone (the abuser) uses behaviour that is violent, threatening, intimidating or controlling, or intended to cause the family or household member to be fearful. The abuser may be from a current or past intimate relationship, a carer or a guardian, other family member including step family regardless of gender and sexuality.

Violent behaviours may include:

  • physical or sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • financial abuse such as withholding money
  • threats or coercion
  • isolating you from family and friends
  • controlling or dominating you, causing you to fear for your safety or the wellbeing of another person
  • causing your child to hear, witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of violence
  • using male privilege
  • harm to things that you love – pets, personal belongings
  • verbal abuse
  • stalking
  • neglect in a relationship of dependence
  • restricting spiritual or cultural participation

safe steps is staffed by women. If you or someone you care about is living with an abusive partner or family member call our 24-hour crisis line on 1800 015 188 to access support or information.