What is domestic violence
Domestic and family violence is a crime and if you have experienced it, there are many ways in which you can receive help.
Domestic and family violence is an abuse of power and can take many forms including physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, sexual assault, financial deprivation and isolation.
The NSW Government's Domestic Violence website provides practical information to help victims of domestic violence, including: What are my options?, Help with difficult decisions, Legal protection.
Safety and protection
For information on how to protect yourself from the offender, including how to obtain an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), please refer to the Safety and protection webpage.
If your child is at risk call the Community Services (formerly DoCS) Helpline on 132 111.
Some areas of NSW are running a 'Staying Home Leaving Violence' project. which provides support and assistance to women who prefer to remain safely in their own home, without the abusive person. The NSW Domestic Violence website has contact numbers for the Staying Home Leaving Violence program in your area. You can also contact the Community Services Domestic Violence Line (Phone 1800 656 463) to see if there is a 'Staying Home Leaving Violence' project in your area.
The Staying Home Leaving Violence program has produced a guide - Planning for your safety (pdf) - which provides practical advice including on how to secure your home.
Medical assistance forensic examination and services
please refer to:
A Crime is Committed > Medical Assistance, forensic examination and services
Reporting domestic violence
Police treat all reports of domestic violence seriously and will respond as quickly as possible.
You may be unsure about reporting Domestic Violence to the police. There are many reasons why you may not want to speak to the police straight away - you may have fears for your safety, worry about the repercussions of getting police involved or be unsure as to what will happen after you report an incident to the police.
Domestic Violence Liaison Officers (DVLOs) are specialist police officers who can help victims of domestic violence. They are attached to 165 patrols across New South Wales and are specially trained to assist victims of domestic violence. They can give advice about legal avenues, support agencies available which offer alternate accommodation and financial support available. They will go to court with domestic violence victims to assist with applications for AVOs. You can find contact details for your Local Police Station on the NSW Police website.
The NSW Police's Domestic Violence webpage has information for victims of domestic violence including: What is family and domestic violence, Patterns of abuse, Early warning signs, Power and control wheel, How to report domestic violence.
Support services - general
Victims of domestic violence may need a wide range of help and support services, including:
counselling, legal advice and assistance, accommodation services to find somewhere to stay, court support
For contact details to access these services please refer to:
Help and Support > Specific Crimes > Domestic Violence
A helpful booklet, Your Court, Your Safety (PDF 1203 Kb), has been prepared by the Crime Prevention Division, NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice. In this booklet you can find information on:
- Domestic and family violence and the legal system
- Preparing for court
- Your rights as a victim of crime
- Family law
- Your safety
- Where to get help and support.
Support services - people of non-english-speaking background
The Community Services website has numerous publications, including about domestic violence and child abuse, and in a number of languages( English, Arabic, Chinese, Croation, Macedonian, Turkish and Vietnamese).
The Immigrant Women's Support Service - A community based organisation which works with women and children of non-English speaking background who are or have been in violent domestic situations and/or have experienced rape and/or sexual assault. NOTE: This service is based in Queensland and you can phone the domestic violence support on (07) 3846 3490 or sexual assault support on (07) 3846 5400. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Support services - family violence victims sponsored under a spouse visa
Victims of domestic violence who have been sponsored by their partner to reside in Australia are offered support by a number of government departments to enable them to escape the abusive situation. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship supports women in these circumstances through the Women at Risk Program. The Domestic Violence Hotline provides referrals to appropriate refuges. Centrelink may be able to offer a crisis payment and Housing NSW can offer emergency accommodation.
Spouses, de facto and interdependent partners of Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents who apply to live permanently in Australia undergo a two-stage visa application process. If the relationship breaks down after the person has applied for permanent residence, and they can provide evidence that is acceptable under the Migration Regulations that they or their dependants have been the victim of family violence committed by their Australian spouse or partner, the person can still be considered for permanent residence. This means a victim of domestic violence may be eligible for the grant of a permanent Spouse or Interdependency visa without having to fulfil the usual two year waiting period.
Family violence contact officers are located at Department of Immigration and Citizenship offices in each state and territory. They are immigration officers who are experienced in handling applications from people seeking permanent residence on the grounds of family violence. They provide information on the family violence provision as well as details of organisations that offer a range of welfare and legal advice.
For more information contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship
- National phone helpline – 131 881.
- Department of Immigration Partner Migration Booklet
- Department of Immigration Fact Sheet 38 – Family Violence Provisions.
- Legal Aid NSW Factsheet - Advice about your visa if you've been hurt or harmed by your partner. Language PDFs:
English, Arabic, Assyrian, Dari/Farsi, Bengali, Hindi, Spanish, Chinese (sim), Indonesian, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese
Domestic Violence and same-sex relationships
Understanding Your Legal Rights: A guide for Lesbians and Gay Men in NSW is a website focusing on rights for gay and lesbian couples. There is a section on protection from violence - apprehended violence orders.
The Another Closet website contains information on what domestic violence is, domestic violence in same sex relationships, what to do if you are experiencing abuse and the details for a number of important referral services.
General information on domestic/family violence
Domestic Violence - information in AUSLAN for the hearing impaired