Violent relationships

Violence and abuse can make you feel helpless by disconnecting you from society, family and friends and by making you feel that the violence is deserved.

However, help and support are available to help you overcome these feelings and get back in control.

On this page:

Escaping a violent relationship

If you need immediate protection ring:

  • 000 (police)Where


  • the National Sexual Assault and Family Violence Service on 1800 7377 328 to find your closest crisis support service.

Many women are forced into crisis before they seek help for family violence because of:

  • the fear of retaliation
  • community tolerance of violence
  • a lack of information or services
  • a lack of protection from police or the courts
  • language barriers
  • insecure or low income
  • the loss of family or community.


Facts about violence

  • Violence is isolating.  Neighbours, teachers, workmates and other contacts in your community can be essential sources of information about where you can go for help.
  • Violence undermines your ability to trust. However, many professionals recognise how serious and prevalent violence is in women’s lives, and are able to help.
  • Violence is traumatising. Counselling can be an important part of reclaiming a joyful, loving life with affirming and fulfilling relationships.
  • Your safety is vital. Domestic violence services can help you with free and safe accommodation, dealing with the courts or the police and linking you with other supports like legal advice.
  • Involving police is important but it’s not the only option. Support groups offer a place for sharing experiences, making friends and finding solutions to practical problems.


Helping someone in a violent relationship

Friends, family and community members play a vital role in supporting victims/survivors of family violence by:

  • listening and believing women's stories of violence and abuse
  • taking what they hear seriously without trying to tell women what to do.

If you know someone who is living with a violent partner, here are some practical ways that you can help:

  • Honour her judgement about what is safe and respect her choices.
  • Be patient and provide practical support over the long term.
  • Support her to persist with finding expert and helpful professionals in the police, child protection agenices and the courts.
  • Stay part of her social network. Women with a network of family members, friends and colleagues will have better mental and physical health.
  • Become involved in an organisation that campaigns for a fairer and safer society for women and girls.
  • If you're a man, support the work of feminists to achieve equality for women. Challenge male friends, family members or colleagues who exercise, excuse or trivialise men’s violence towards women.


Where to go for help

Most people do not know about violence-related support services until they need them. Below is the phone number for the national sexual assault and family violence counselling service, plus websites for more information about services and support.

  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 7377 328) is the national phone line for the National Sexual Assault and Family Violence Service. This service maintains a database of statewide and regional domestic violence and sexual assault services, plus services specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and culturally and linguistically diverse women. Interpreters are provided.
  • The Safe and Equal website has information, resources and stories about all aspects of family violence.
  • Women’s Health Goulburn East's report ‘A Powerful Journey’ about women’s stories of leaving a violent partner:
  • What's OK at home is a website with information for young people experiencing family violence:
  • Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential telephone and online (web and email) counselling service specifically for young people aged between five and 25. Call 1800 55 1800 or see the website for more information:
  • Community legal services are available all around Australia, including specialist family violence services and services for Aboriginal women. This website provides information about the work of community legal services and a map to find your closest service:



The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.