Family (or domestic) violence is a crime. Every woman and child has the right to be safe. Research shows that women are much more likely to be victims of family violence than men. Family violence includes emotional, psychological, physical, sexual and financial abuse. It has an enormous impact on the physical and mental health of women and children, and the effects can be felt for many years.
Family violence is a complex issue and women experiencing it need individual support and access to support services. A range of services is available in Victoria to help women make changes and choices for the future.
safe steps Family Violence Response Centre (formerly Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service)
This is a statewide 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, confidential telephone service that provides information, support and access to safe accommodation or refuges for women and their children. This is the best first point of contact for someone who wants to leave a violent partner or family situation.
The service can act quickly in urgent situations and can provide transport for women without a car or money. Support can be requested via the 24-hour Toll free helpline Tel. 1800 015 188 (keep trying if busy) or visit their website.
1800 RESPECT: National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Service
This is an Australia-wide 24-hour, 7-days–a-week telephone and online counselling service for anyone who has experienced, or is at risk of, family violence or sexual assault. This service provides telephone and online information, counselling, referrals and support. Tel. 1800 737 732 or visit their website.
inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence
inTouch provides information, support and referrals to women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in their first language. The service operates Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Tel. (03) 9413 6500 or Toll Free 1800 755 988 or visit their website.
Elizabeth Hoffman House Aboriginal Women’s Service
This service provides support to Aboriginal women and children, non-Aboriginal women who are mothers of Aboriginal children, and non-Aboriginal women who have Aboriginal partners, who are experiencing family violence. It provides urgent crisis services and ongoing support. The service has a 24-hour support and intake telephone line, and the office is open from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday. Tel. 1800 796 112 or visit their website.
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria
This service provides legal advice, information, referral and support to Aboriginal victims/survivors or people at immediate risk of family violence and sexual assault as well as to parents/carers of Aboriginal children. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. Tel. 03 5021 3200 or freecall 1800 105 303, or visit their website.
Family violence outreach workers
Family violence outreach workers are located throughout Victoria to support women who are experiencing or escaping from family violence. They work with women to develop safety plans to enhance the safety of themselves and their children.
- information on options and resources
- referral to other services
- case management support
- counselling and financial counselling.
Referral to local outreach workers is via Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre (previously the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service).
Refuges and shelters
Many organisations provide safe and secure refuges, shelters, or emergency accommodation for women and children escaping faily violence. They assist women with emotional support, legal assistance, help with finding permanent housing and applying for appropriate benefits.
The location of some refuges is kept secret to protect the safety and security of women and children residents. For this reason, referral to refuges and shelters is via Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre (previously the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service of Victoria).
Other emergency housing
Additional emergency housing is provided independently by various community and church-based organisations. This accommodation varies in the level of support provided, the length of stay allowed, and what is required of residents.
Where to get help
- In an emergency, if you, a child, or another person is in immediate danger, always call triple zero (000) for police or ambulance services
- National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line Tel. 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) (24 hours a day, seven days per week)
- Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre (previously the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service) Tel. (03) 9322 3555 or 1800 015 188 (24 hours a day, seven days per week)
- inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence Tel. (03) 9413 6500 or 1800 755 988
- Elizabeth Hoffman House Aboriginal Women’s Service Tel. (03) 9482 5744 or 1800 796 112 (24 hours a day, seven days per week)
- Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Tel. (03) 9244 3333 or 1800 105 303
Things to remember
- Family violence is a crime. Every woman and child has the right to be safe.
- Family violence is a complex issue and women need individual support to meet their needs.
- Victoria has a range of services available to help women experiencing or escaping from family violence.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Women's Health Victoria
Page content currently being reviewed.
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.