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Are you experiencing family violence? Don’t suffer alone – help is available

August 20, 2020

Safer Community

If you’re worried about someone, or something just doesn’t feel quite right, please contact Safer Community for support, advice or information.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way we live, work, study and socialise, we have unfortunately seen an increase in family violence in the community.

The reasons for this are complex, but contributing factors include disruptions to normal lifestyle and routines, and significant pressure on emotions, finances, work or study, and overall health and wellbeing. These issues can strain personal and family relationships, exacerbate existing domestic problems or increase risk to victims already experiencing family violence.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Victoria Police has conducted more than 16,000 safety checks on known family violence cases, and detected nearly 4500 new family violence offences, ranging from breaching violence restraining orders to assaults.

The Victorian Government recently announced an extra $20 million for domestic violence services. The money will enable 1500 perpetrators, or people at risk of using violence, to move out of homes and into short- or long-term accommodation. The aim is to help keep survivors safe in their homes amid coronavirus lockdown measures.

What to do if your home is not a safe place to be

Family violence is a crime and there is no excuse. Everyone has the right to be free from violence or the fear of violence. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing family violence, or you’re feeling scared or threatened at home, we want you to know that support is available.

If you’re feeling unsafe in your home right now, please seek help in one of the following ways:

In an emergency

  • If you’re experiencing violence, or you’re worried about someone else’s safety, call Victoria Police or go to a police station. In an emergency, always call Triple Zero (000).
  • If English is not your first language, call Triple Zero (000) and tell them your language. They will connect you to an interpreter.
  • If you have a hearing impairment or have difficulty being understood verbally, the National Relay Service can help with an emergency call.

Even with Stage 4 restrictions in place in Melbourne and Stage 3 across the rest of Victoria, if you need to leave a violent situation, you can – and you will not be fined.

Support from within Deakin

  • Deakin’s Safer Community service is the University’s central point of contact for reports of family violence and sexual harm, and we also respond to reports of concerning behaviour. Visit our website to find out more, including information on what will happen if you make a report, how we manage your privacy, and what ongoing referrals, support and monitoring are available. It’s important to know that Safer Community is not an emergency or crisis response service and we only operate during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm).
  • If you’d like to talk to a counsellor, contact Deakin’s Counselling and Psychological Support (CAPS) service.

Community-based support

  • safe steps (1800 015 188) provides family violence support over the phone or via email 24 hours a day. They can also connect you with someone who speaks in your preferred language.
  • The Orange Door (1800 312 820) is a family violence organisation that connects victims, children or people who need help to change their behaviour to relevant local services. 
  • inTouch (1800 755 988) provides support services to women from multicultural backgrounds, including migrant and refugee women living in Victoria, who are experiencing or have experienced family violence. 
  • Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491) provides help and support for people concerned about their own behaviour.
  • 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) provides information, counselling and support for people affected by family violence and sexual harm.
  • Language barriers or other factors may make it even harder for you to report family violence. To help you or someone you know understand what to do if this happens, Victoria Police has produced a video in 26 languages. The video highlights that family violence is a crime, help victims understand who they can speak to for support, and let victims know that they are not alone.

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