The statistics are shocking. One in six women has experienced physical violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15, while for men it’s one in 17. It’s a nationwide problem that affects all age groups, professions and levels of society.
Support is available for those experiencing domestic and family violence, with a range of resources and national and local professional services offering assistance to those in need.
In 2018, the Fair Work Commission added family and domestic violence leave to the National Employment Standards, formalising support for those who need time away from the workplace to consult with police, make court appearances, or make arrangements for their own safety or that of a close relative. All employees (including part-time and casual employees) are entitled to five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. Many employers take this further, offering paid leave as and when it’s needed.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has developed a new Employer Guide to Family and Domestic Violence to help employers understand their workplace responsibilities and how to support employees affected by family and domestic violence.
The Diversity Council of Australia and Our Watch have published the Mythbusting report, which explores domestic and family violence, dispelling some of the common misconceptions and highlighting the impacts on the workplace.
There are also many professional organisations that offer online, phone and face-to-face support.
Free online and phone counselling support is available for people experiencing violence and abuse.
- 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
The national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service offers confidential information, counselling and support services. Phone and online services are available 24/7.
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
- Men’s Line: 1300 78 99 78
If you are a man who has experienced or used domestic violence, support is available from Men’s Line, a professional support and information service. Phone and online services available 24/7.
- QLife: 1800 184 527
QLife is a peer run counselling and referral service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI).
1800Respect offers a list of safety apps for mobile phones, created to keep people safer. Some send messages or call 000. Others link to support services, while others offer information on healthy relationships. Some of the apps highlighted include the following:
- Daisy app by 1800Respect
The Daisy app by 1800Respect connects women to support near them and can be used anywhere in Australia. Daisy links to service phone numbers and websites, which can be accessed from within the app so they don’t show in browser history.
- Arc app
Created by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, the Arc app enables women experiencing family violence to track details of abusive behaviour by uploading photos, videos, audio and diary entries, creating a record of what has happened, when it happened, and the personal impacts. The app also offers information about technology and safety as well as links to legal resources.
- Emergency+ app
The Emergency+ app is a free app developed by Australia’s emergency services and their Government and industry partners. The app uses GPS functionality built into smartphones to help a Triple Zero (000) caller provide critical location details required to mobilise emergency services.
New South Wales
The NSW government provides an extensive list of online and phone contacts for a number of domestic violence services.
The Domestic Violence Line (1800 656 463) is a NSW statewide telephone crisis counselling and referral service for women and people who identify as female.
The Northern Territory government lists family and domestic violence support services and legal assistance for several regions, including Central Australia, Greater Darwin and Tiwi Islands, Katherine/Big Rivers, and Eastern Arnhem/Nhulunbuy/Groote Eylandt.
The Queensland government publishes an extensive list of family and domestic violence services that operate on a local government level.
- DVConnect helps Queenslanders find pathways away from family, domestic and sexual violence, providing safety planning, crisis counselling, intervention, information and referrals. The service also offers the following helplines:
- Womensline: 1800 811 811 (24/7)
- Mensline: 1800 600 636 (9am–midnight 7 days)
- Sexual Assault Helpline: 1800 010 120 (7.30am-11.30pm 7 days)
The SA government publishes a list of contacts for domestic and family violence and sexual assault support services in South Australia.
The 24 hour Domestic Violence Crisis Line (1800 800 098) provides crisis counselling, support and referral to safe accommodation.
The Tasmanian government provides a list of statewide, regional and national support services for those experiencing domestic and family violence.
- Safe At Home Family Violence Response and Referral Line: 1800 633 937 (24/7)
- Family Violence Counselling and Support Service: 1800 608 122 (9am–midnight weekdays, 4pm–midnight weekends & public holidays)
The Victorian government lists family violence statewide support services.
- Safe Steps (1800 015 188) is Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response centre for confidential crisis support, information and accommodation.
- The Orange Door is part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It’s a free service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence and families who need extra support with the care, wellbeing and development of children.
- The Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria after-hours service (1800 806 292) offers after-hours telephone crisis counselling support, information, advocacy and referral to anyone living in Victoria who has experienced any form of sexual assault at any point in their lives.
- Rainbow Door (1800 729 367) is a free specialist LGBTIQ+ helpline providing information, support and referral to all LGBTIQ+ Victorians, their friends and family.
The WA government provides a list of family and domestic violence services and resources for various groups in the west, including services targeted to children and young people, culturally diverse groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and seniors.
The following helplines are state-wide 24-hour services providing support, telephone counselling, information and referral to ongoing face to face services.
- Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline (1800 007 339)
- Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline (1800 000 599)
- The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (1800 199 888) is the 24-hour emergency sexual assault service in metropolitan Perth.