What you need to know

16 Days of Activism: Family Violence Support Services

16 Days of Activism Family Violence Support Services 1

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a United Nations initiative to end violence against women.

As part of this initiative, Council has worked with Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre and Moonee Valley Legal Service to create a guide to assist those at-risk or suffering from family violence.

What is family violence?

Family violence is when a partner, family member or former loved one hurts you, or tries to control what you do, causing fear. This is unlawful.

Definition adapted from Women’s Health West

It can look like:

  • Physical acts like hitting, pushing, smashing things or restraining you.
  • Preventing you from seeing family or friends.
  • Pressuring, tricking or forcing you to commit sexual acts.
  • Threatening to hurt you, your children, pets or loved ones.
  • Verbally abusing you.
  • Financial abuse or limiting your access to money.
  • Constantly monitoring where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re talking to.
  • Stopping you from practising religious or spiritual beliefs.

Steps for safety

There are a number of steps you can follow to help increase your safety and access to assistance, including:

  • Call Triple Zero (000) if you are in immediate danger and teach your children how to call 000.
  • Keep your mobile phone charged and save important numbers and emergency contacts.
  • Identify safe ways to leave your home.
  • Remove objects that could cause harm from your home.
  • Talk to people you can trust, like friends, family or neighbours who may be able to help you.
  • Establish code words or signals with your trusted circle to use if you require help.
  • Keep a bag of essentials with someone you trust.
  • Keep fuel in your car.
  • Contact one of the support services listed below

Women 16 Days of Activism Family Violence Support Services

If you know someone experiencing family violence

Please call Triple Zero (000) if someone you know is in immediate danger, and do not put yourself or others in danger.

You can assist someone experiencing family violence in a number of ways, including:

  • Believe what they tell you.
  • Do not blame them for what has happened.
  • Do not make excuses for, or minimise the actions of, the person who has hurt them.
  • Be available to support them.
  • Establish agreed code words or signals if they need your help to escape.
  • Offer practical help by sharing transport, a phone or a place to escape to.
  • Keep a bag of the person’s essentials in the event they need to flee.

Myths & Facts

Myth: Family violence is not common. It doesn’t affect many people.

Fact: Family violence is a largely hidden and underreported problem. It is a widespread issue across Australia and around the world. Both men and women can experience family violence, however, women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.

Myth: Family violence only occurs in poorer neighbourhoods.

Fact: Family violence occurs across all family types, regardless of income, region, religion, ethnicity, level of education or race.

Myth: Family violence happens as a result of one family member provoking another.

Fact: It is common for abusers to blame their partner for provoking them, but there is no excuse for violence. Family violence happens because a person chooses to act violently.

Myth: Family violence happens when a person gets angry and loses control.

Fact: Family violence is the exercise of control. Violence is a choice. A perpetrator controls when, where and how the violence happens.

Myth: You are unable to leave the house during COVID-19 restrictions.

Fact: If you are feeling unsafe, experiencing or are at risk of family violence, you can leave your home to get help without getting fined.

Myth: Courts are no longer operating to hear family violence matters during COVID-19 restrictions.

Fact: Courts have remained open during the pandemic. Family violence matters continue to be a priority for the Magistrates’ Court and all urgent intervention order applications are being heard without delay.

Myth: Nobody cares about you and there are no support services open to help you during COVID-19 restrictions.

Fact: Many support services have remained open during the pandemic to assist people experiencing family violence. Most have been available via telephone or other electronic means. A number of support services also continue to see clients face-to-face if necessary.

16 Days of Activism Family Violence Support Services woman

Support services

Services available in the local community


Women’s Health West
Free family violence support for women and children, counselling, case management, temporary housing, and sexual and reproductive health information.

Ph: (03) 9689 9588 or 1800 015 188

Moonee Valley Legal Service
Free legal advice and assistance with intervention orders, court-related matters, and help understanding your rights and options.

Ph: (03) 9376 7929

Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre
Free legal advice and assistance with intervention orders, court-related matters, and help understanding your rights and options.

Ph: (03) 9376 4355

Services available in the wider community

Free confidential advice, counselling and support services.

Ph: 1800 737 732 / 1800 RESPECT

Safe Steps
Victorian-based 24/7 family violence support service.

Ph: 1800 015 188 (24-hour support line)

Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Free support, referral and information for all Victorian women, non-binary and gender-diverse people.

Ph: 1300 134 130

No to Violence
Free support for men who are violent and use violence against others.
Ph: 1300 766 491