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Illustration of family violence

10 December 2020

Feeling safe is a basic human right – but help is here if you’re experiencing family violence

Today, Thursday 10 December, is Human Rights Day, the anniversary of when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The UDHR outlines a set of rights that are the basic and minimum for all people, and makes it clear that everyone, no matter where they come from, should enjoy the same freedoms. These include civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

In Australia, many of us take these fundamental rights for granted, but in reality not all of them are available on an equal basis to all Australians – or to all people across the world.

Human Rights Day is also the final day of the global campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This connection highlights that gender-based and family violence is a fundamental violation of human rights.

What is family violence?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare defines family violence as violence between family members, such as between parents and children, siblings, and intimate partners.

Domestic violence is a type of family violence, and refers specifically to violence that occurs between current or former intimate partners (sometimes referred to as ‘intimate partner violence’).

Both family violence and domestic violence include behaviours such as:

On average, the effects of this violence are more severe for women and more frequent for gender-diverse people.  

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a recent increase in family violence in Australia.

Some of the reasons 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.

Are you feeling unsafe at home?

Family violence is a crime and there is no excuse. If you’re feeling unsafe in your home right now, please seek help in one of the following ways:

In an emergency

There are no longer any restrictions on reasons to leave home. But, regardless of the future level of any restrictions in Victoria, if you need to leave a violent situation, you can.

Support from within Deakin

Safer Community is not an emergency or crisis response service and we only operate during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm).

Community-based support

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