Support for people experiencing family violence

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Call 000 if you are in danger.

Call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 (24 hours) to talk to a counsellor about family violence and get support.

Support for people experiencing family violence

Family violence is any behaviour that controls or dominates a family member and causes them to feel fear. They might fear for their own, or another family member’s, safety or wellbeing. Family violence can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic abuse. It can also include any behaviour that means a child hears, witnesses, or is exposed to that behaviour.

There are organisations that can help if you are experiencing family violence.

On this page:

Or, find other information on family violence when renting.

Get help

You can contact the following agencies for help, depending on your situation. For more information and a list of support agencies, visit the Department of Justice and Community Safety’s Family Violence page.

Counselling and support for people experiencing family violence

Safe Steps call 1800 015 188 (24 hours, 7 days a week), email safesteps@safesteps.org.au

W|respect call 1800 542 847 (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday)

1800RESPECTcall 1800 737 732 (24 hours)

Legal advice

Victoria Legal Aidcall 1300 792 387 (8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday)

Victims of Crime call 1800 819 817 (8 am to 11pm, every day), text 0427 767 891, email vsa@justice.vic.gov.au

Renting information and advice

Consumer Affairs Victoriacall 1300 01 8228 (9 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday)

VCATcall 03 9628 9856 (9 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday)

Tenants Victoria call 03 9416 2577 (9 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday)

Support for men

MensLine Australia call 1800 78 99 78 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

Contact us for rental advice

If you are renting and experiencing family violence, you can call us for information on:

  • ending a rental agreement (breaking a lease)
  • taking another person’s name off the agreement
  • forms, processes and applications
  • repairs
  • getting evicted
  • blacklists (renter databases).

You can call us on 1300 55 81 81 (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

Calling us costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you are calling from overseas, on a mobile or payphone. You can also contact us through our online enquiry form.

Your information will stay confidential.

We may refer you to a community agency for help with a renting issue, through our Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program. We will ask you for permission first.

Get support when applying to VCAT

VCAT provides support for people experiencing family violence. You can:

Or you can:

Definitions of terms related to family violence

Family violence

Family violence is any behaviour that controls or dominates a family member and causes them to feel fear. They might fear for themselves, or another family member’s safety or wellbeing. Family violence can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic abuse. It can also include any behaviour that means a child hears, witnesses, or is exposed to that behaviour. 

A family member can be:

  • current or former wives, husbands or domestic partners (including same-sex partners)
  • parents
  • children
  • relatives
  • other people considered to be ‘family’ (such as a close friend who permanently lives with the family).

Protected person

A protected person is someone who is protected by any of the following:

  • Family violence safety notice (issued by the police)
  • Family violence intervention order (issued by a court)
  • Personal safety intervention order (issued by a court).

Excluded renter

An excluded renter is a ‘respondent’ who has a safety notice or intervention order issued against them that says they cannot enter the home.

Family violence safety notice

A family violence safety notice may have conditions similar to a family violence intervention order. A police officer applies for and issues a family violence safety notice.

A safety notice is also an application by police for a magistrate to make an intervention order. It stays in effect until the magistrate decides whether to make an intervention order.

If the respondent breaks the conditions of the safety notice, they can be arrested by police and may be fined or imprisoned.

For more information, visit the family violence safety notices page on the Legal Aid Victoria website.

Family violence intervention order

A family violence intervention order is issued by a magistrate to protect family members from violence.

An intervention order can be an interim or final order.

If the respondent breaks the conditions of the order, they can be arrested by police and may be fined or imprisoned.

For more information, visit the family violence intervention orders page on the Legal Aid Victoria website.

Personal safety intervention order

A personal safety intervention order is issued by a magistrate to protect someone who fears for their safety by someone outside of their family – for example, neighbours or friends.

For more information, visit the personal safety intervention orders page on the Legal Aid Victoria website.

Factsheets

Protected persons:

Excluded renters

Property managers, rental providers and operators

Information for rental providers and property managers

If you are a rental provider, rooming house operator or property manager, read:

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about family violence when renting, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 91ZZU – Renter may challenge notice to vacate on grounds of family violence or personal violence
  • Section 206AG – Application for termination or new agreement because of family violence or personal violence
  • Section 420A – Order by Tribunal if renter victim of family violence or personal violence
  • Section 420B – Order by Tribunal in circumstances of family violence or personal violence.