Family Violence

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What is family violence?

Family violence is also referred to as domestic violence or intimate partner violence. Family violence is any threatening, coercive, dominating or abusive behaviour that occurs between people in a family, domestic or intimate relationship, or former intimate relationship, that causes the person experiencing the behaviour to feel fear.

Family violence very rarely happens as a single incident. Rather, it is a pattern of ongoing behaviour that can include multiple tactics used to intimidate, control and abuse someone. The frequency and severity of family violence can escalate over time.

If a baby or child hears or witnesses abusive behaviour or is exposed to the impacts of this, they are a victim of family violence in their own right.

Family violence has long been a hidden and underreported problem, but it is a very widespread social issue in Australia and around the world. One in four Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. In Australia, it is against the law for any member of your family, including your partner, children or in-laws, to hurt, abuse or control you.

Always call 000 if you or someone else is in danger

Family violence includes (but is not limited to)

  • Emotional Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Social Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse

More information on the forms of abuse is available here

Support services





Safe Steps

24/7 family violence crisis support line

1800 015 188

The Orange Door (Western Melbourne)

Family violence and parenting support

1800 271 045


Confidential information, counselling and support service

1800 737 732

Rainbow Door

Helpline supporting LGBTIQA+ individuals and their families

1800 729 367


Support, including legal advice, for Aboriginal people

1800 105 303


Support for migrant and refugee communities

1800 755 988

CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault)

24/7 telephone counselling, support and crisis care support following sexual assault

1800 806 292

MensLine Australia

Phone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns.

1300 789 978

Kids Helpline

Free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25

1800 551 800


Other resources 

The Health Translations Directory has a range of multilingual family violence resources available in 46 languages.

Ask Izzy helps people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to find the services they need, right now and nearby.

The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service has support available for people experiencing family violence. If you are concerned about your relationship or think you may be experiencing family violence book an appointment with your MCH nurse to discuss how we can support you.

Hobsons Bay Maternal and Child Health Booking Line

Monday-Friday, 9am – 4pm (not available on weekends and public holidays)

Ph: 9932 1300 | Email: