Find help

Choose the organisation that may best be able to assist with your circumstance.


1800respect provides support services to people experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence 24 hours every day. Accessed via phone and website chat, the service also provide information for people supporting someone experiencing family violence.


MensLine provides support to men through counselling in the areas of family and relationship issues, including family violence, relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, parenting, suicide prevention and emotional wellbeing.


Lifeline is a 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Confidential one on one support is provided over the phone, via online chat facility or through text messaging.

Kids Helpline

Kids helpline provides counselling services for all young people aged 5 to 25 years. The line can be accessed 24 hours a day with additional support resources and information available online for children, parents and teachers.

What is Family Violence?

Family Violence takes many shapes and forms. Typically, it involves abusive behaviours from a person in your family or someone you have an intimate relationship with (either currently or in the past) whether you reside together or not.

Family Violence is not having an argument once a while (unless this involves physical assault) but involves a pattern of ongoing abusive behaviour. Whist the violence may involve physical violence or sexual assault it also takes various other forms that seek to control you. This includes threatening, taunting, stalking, property damage, isolation and financial control to name a few.

Often family violence involves controlling or coercive behaviours which are used to gain and maintain power over you. This might involve someone needing to know your movements and where you are all the time, going through text messages and social media accounts to see who you are talking to and telling you what you can wear and who you can see.

It is difficult to describe all the possible types of family violence and it is important that you do not see the highlighted descriptions on this page as definitive. If you are experiencing any behaviours that make you feel fearful you should seek support. If you are experiencing a life threatening or emergency situation call 000 immediately.

Hitting, kicking, breaking and throwing things, restraining or choking are all examples of physical abuse. Abuse aimed at others in your home such as children and pets are forms of physical abuse also along with actions such as sleep or food deprivation or driving recklessly.

Being forced into sexual acts without consent.

This can involve rape, sexual contact when you are unable to provide consent, unwanted exposure to pornography and sharing of photos or videos of a sexual nature without consent.

Involves emotional harm and leaves feelings of being afraid, uncomfortable or manipulated.

Whilst this type of harm does not include a physical form it can have long term impacts on your mental health. It can leave you questioning your own sanity and can cause conditions including depression and anxiety.

Often the abuser will try to convince you that you are imagining or over-exaggerating the behaviours or flatly refuse your recollection of events as not true with the aim to make you question your selfbelief.

Emotional abuse often involves verbal threats, shouting, swearing & intimidation.

The abuser will put you down, criticise you and make your doubt your self-worth. They will often blame you for any problems in the relationship and make you feel guilty for the things that are not going well. This blame extends to threats of self-harm if you do not do what they want you to do.

This type of abuse can include denying access to your family and friends to ensure isolation and attempts to embarrass you in front of other people including through cyberbullying.

Denying access to and control of your money

This might involve restricting you from working to limit your access to independent income, accruing debt in your name and refusing to contribute to household expenses. Often the aim is to make you financially dependant on the abuser.

Find help near you

Whilst there are numerous National Support services aimed at supporting people with family violence you may like to speak to someone in your local community.

Learn more about our Support Centres >


Where will I find emergency accommodation?

Emergency accommodation can be accessed 24 hours a day, every day of the year in every region and area.  As “The Orange Door” (TOD) is now established in Victoria the best contact during business hours (individual contact numbers can be found at and after-hours Safe Steps 1800 015 188.   Assistance can also be sought from your local Health Service.

There are many different accommodation options including supports to help you stay safely in your home if this is more relevant to your situation.

How will I be safe there?

The support services that will assist you in finding accommodation will consider your individual circumstances and any risks to your safety.  This will help determine the best accommodation and what other service providers may need to assist you during transition including Vic Police.

The location of emergency accommodation is not publicised and your privacy and confidentiality are always a top priority for support services.

During your initial contact and assessment it will be determined whether it is best to remain in your local area or be relocated elsewhere for your safety.

Can I bring my pets?

Your pet’s safety is a concern for us too. Pets can be a huge deterrent for family violence victims seeking help or feeling like help is available. If the emergency accommodation available to you is not able to host your pets there is dedicated funding and resourcing to accommodate pets through councils and specialist family violence services regionally until you can access and get settled in more permanent accommodation.  Speak to the support services about what options are available to you locally.

Pets are not permitted in motels and most caravan parks.

Will I have to share with other people?

Emergency accommodation includes a range of options, including motels, units and transitional housing.  You can talk to the support service about your personal needs and they will work with you to assess your safety and specific accommodation needs.

Where do I go to get help?

Now that The Orange Door is located across Victoria, they are the best place to offer holistic support and referrals.  The Orange Door is 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 of children.  You can also make contact with your local health service to discuss what options are available to you locally.  If your local Rotary Club is engaged in our program, you can find local contact numbers through the ‘find local services’ tab

Along with this there are many state-wide services across the state and nationally, you can call at any time, on any day to access support.

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre provide a state-wide service for intervention, support and advocacy. They are a 24/7 service and provide afterhours services and regional responses.

1800 RESPECT provide a confidential information, counselling and support service. Open 24 hours to support people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.

Key contacts:

  • The Orange Door (open weekdays 9am – 5pm)
    • Barwon – 1800 312 820
    • Bayside Peninsula – 1800 319 353
    • Central Highlands – 1800 219 819
    • Goulburn – 1800 634 245
    • Hume Moreland – 1800 271 151
    • Inner Melbourne East – 1800 354 322
    • Inner Gippsland – 1800 319 354
    • Loddon – 1800 512 359
    • Mallee – 1800 290 943
    • North Eastern Melbourne – 1800 319 355
    • Outer Eastern Melbourne – 1800 271 150
    • Outer Gippsland – 1800 512 358
    • Ovens Murray – 1800 271 157
    • Southern Melbourne – 1800 271 170
    • South West (Wimmera South West) – 1800 271 180

Will I need to go to a lot of different places? Where do I go first?

This question has multiple answers and will depend on your personal circumstances and choice.

If you are in immediate danger, you should always call 000.

Your first contact point could be either through The Orange Door, your local health provider or the police.  These services will ensure you are put in contact with the correct services to help you with your individual needs.  1800 RESPECT and Safe Steps can be called after hours.

If you are not comfortable in speaking to someone in your local community you can reach out to 1800 Respect, Safe Steps or Lifeline.  You will talk to a trained clinician who will listen and support you in what feels right for you and your situation.   They will work with you to help you identify what you can do and to find the right services or support for you.   You can also speak to someone online at

Will I get help straight away?

There are specialist family violence and accommodation support services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to immediate risk and safety needs.  Police and/or other services will ask you questions to assess your risk and safety needs and offer services to support you.

If you are experiencing family violence, you are fearful and/or have been threatened please call police on 000 for an immediate response.

Where do I get help financially?

There are a number of organisations that could assist you financially when fleeing an abusive relationship.  Talking with a local service provider (as detailed on the contacts page) is a good starting point as they will be able to link you to organisations that can provide financial support.

Below are a few additional programs that may be able to help you if you would like to talk to them directly.

To find out what financial support you can receive from Centrelink visit


Currently (2022) there is a program called ‘The Escaping Violence Payment Program’ which offers financial assistance (up to $5000) and confidential support for people who have recently left a violent intimate partner. It will help you move forward and set up a home that’s free from violence.

Details on the program can be found at

The Salvation Army is well known for giving a helping hand to those in need.  Visit the following page to find local contacts in your area.

Where do I access counselling and support services?

Counselling and group work services are available to support you.  You can ask the your local Orange Door, Health Service, or another support service to refer you, find a counsellor yourself, or ask your doctor for a referral.

Specialist family violence services provide groups to support recovery, counselling and support for women and children experiencing family violence.

Key contact numbers:

  • National sexual assault and domestic and family violence counselling service 1800RESPECT (1800 377 321) 24 hours
  • Safe steps Family Violence Response Centre provide telephone counselling Tel 1800 015 188 (24 hrs)
  • WIRE Women’s Information & Referral Exchange Tel 1300 134 130
  • Lifeline- Tel: 131 114 (24 hours)
  • Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) Crisis service for victim/survivors who have been sexually assaulted. Tel: 1800 806 292 (24 hours)

If I need to take my children out of school what help is available to find a new school

Your specialist support services will help you work through all your needs including the safety of your children.  There are programs in place that can provide educational support for children who cannot attend school due to risk and safety concerns.    Schools can also provide support to ensure children are safe and protected including the understanding about safety concerns and intervention order conditions.    Children can have their own safety plans that support their safety and wellbeing, often the school need to know about any protective and safety concerns and measures in place to support them.

If you are looking at new schools, talk to your support service about safety needs and/or make contact with the school principal to have a tour of the school and determine what requirements are needed.

How can the police make sure I am safe? What about my extended family?

The police are able to assess your safety (and that of your family) including any future risks.  The police can put in place immediately, safety notices that will assist in keeping you safe.  If required, though the court system, you can also apply for an Intervention order.

With an intervention order the magistrate can include any conditions they believe are needed to keep your family members safe. The orders also support your children or anyone else who supports your family members and may be considered at risk.

The orders can include conditions that prevents the respondent (the person who is using violence) from:

  • Hurting or threatening to hurt your family member
  • Behaving in an offensive manner towards them
  • Harassing, stalking or intimidating them
  • Coming near them, their home, school or their work (usually a safe nominated distance)
  • Telephoning or contacting them
  • Damaging or threatening to damage their property
  • Getting someone else to hurt or threatened them to do any of the things in the order
  • Having a gun or another weapon

a) What is an IVO (intervention Order)?  How will this help protect me?

An IVO is a family violence intervention order, this is a court order that helps protect you from experiencing risk of violence, threatening, coercive and controlling behaviour and/or fear from a family member who is using violence towards them.  An IVO is a court order made by a magistrate in the Magistrates Court, it informs a person they must not use violence against you or your family.

The order has a set of conditions to prevent behaviour that makes a family member feel unsafe fearful and/or threatened as a result of previous behaviour, risk and future risk (likelihood of violence).  The order can list children, property and/or other people supporting you as protected persons.

An Interim Order is a short-term order made until a Magistrate can hear all the evidence and make a final decision, with full order conditions.

b) What will happen to the person who is harming me?

Intervention Orders can provide a civil or criminal response (including criminal charges).  A civil response IVO is not listed on the public record, but the police and the court will have a record of it to ensure that the respondent (the person harming you) obeys the conditions.  Reports of family violence can include criminal offences and if the offender breaks the conditions of the order, this is reported as a breach.

The magistrate can make a condition that requires the offender to be excluded (removed from the home) for the safety of the Affected Family members.  Exclusion orders require the offender to leave the property and obey the conditions documented.  The order is against the offender and if the person is reported to breach the order, this is investigated as a criminal offence and can result in criminal charges and response.

The offender will be advised of the legal help available to them and supports available for accommodation, Men’s Referral Service, Men’s Behaviour Change and programs and statewide supports.

Police can put in place an order with conditions that prevent the offender from having and owning a gun and/or weapons and cancel their gun licence based on risk and safety.

The order can include children, if there is risk to them and they can be listed on the order, with the offender needing to commit to obeying the order conditions.  This includes children being exposed to the family violence directly, through experiencing, witnessing and seeing the effects of family violence towards them and/or the affected family member.  The offender may be asked to adhere to contact conditions such as supervised contact with children for their safety and wellbeing and children’s best interests.   All parties can access and seek legal support and advice.

c) Will I have to go to court?

  • What will happen?
  • Who can help me?

Your individual situation will determine if you are required to attend court.  It’s a good idea to get support as you move through the court process by inviting a friend, and/or working with a specialist family violence agency who can provide court support for you at all regional locations.  We recommend you make contact with specialist services and/or seek support prior to attending court or applying for an intervention order.  The Magistrates Court in your area can help you to access services and support applications.

Key contacts

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