Family & domestic violence help

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Family and domestic violence is never acceptable. This page explains what family and domestic violence can look like. It also gives information on where to find support if you need it.

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How we can support you

We can help you when you experience family and domestic violence. This includes counselling, short-term accommodation, payments and other supports.

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling

Open Arms provides free counselling and mental health support to you and your family. For assessment and referral to Open Arms counselling and mental health services, or if you need immediate support or someone to talk to, you can call Open Arms on 1800 011 046 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Where required, Open Arms may be able to assist with supporting clients to access appropriate Family and Domestic Violence support services.

Safe Zone Support

Offered by Open Arms, Safe Zone Support is a free and anonymous counselling service for you and your family. You can call anytime on 1800 142 072

Crisis payment

If you want to find out about the DVA Crisis Payment, or other DVA payments you may be eligible for at this time, you can call us on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

Acute Support Package

The Acute Support Package (ASP) is designed to support families who are experiencing new and challenging life circumstances.

If you are experiencing a domestic and family violence situation, your family may need support.

Go to Acute Support Package to find out if you are eligible, and how to apply.

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What is family and domestic violence

Family and domestic violence is any action that is violent, threatening, manipulating or controlling, or that causes a family or household member to feel scared. It can be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse.

The behaviour can be one-off or ongoing. It may be intentional or unintentional. Below are some examples of what family and domestic violence can look like.

  • You fear for your own safety, your children or others in your family.
  • Someone is preventing your basic needs or those of a child being met.
  • You have limited or no control of money, including your own.
  • You are not allowed to make decisions that impact you or those around you.
  • You feel someone is following or watching you, including through social media.
  • You fear for the safety of your pet or things you care about.
  • You are not allowed to visit friends and family, or they can’t visit you.
  • Another person is restricting your access to the community for work, medical attention, recreation, or socialising.
  • You are not allowed to make your own decisions about your faith or beliefs.

Family and domestic violence can also happen in relationships with people who are not family members, for example:

  • people in past or current relationships, regardless of gender or sexuality
  • carers, where care is provided to older people or people with disability or medical condition
  • service providers
  • relatives and guardians.
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What does conflict look like

In emotional situations it is sometimes difficult to listen to others clearly and with an open mind. The disagreement may continue and develop into conflict. Using violent or abusive behaviour towards others can look and sound like this:

  • Minimising impact: ‘It was a small push. They weren’t hurt.’
  • Excuses: ‘I didn’t know what I was doing.’
  • Blaming others: ‘It’s not my fault. They made me do it.’

It could be that your behaviour is harming others around you or making them feel scared, whether you mean to or not.

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Other ways you can get help

The following organisations can help you if you’re concerned about the way someone is treating you or a loved one. They can also help if you’re concerned about your own behaviour.

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling

Open Arms provides 24-hour free counselling and support to you and your family. If you need immediate counselling or someone to talk to, you can call Open Arms 24/7 on 1800 011 046


MensLine Australia is a free telephone and online counselling service offering support for Australian men anywhere, anytime. Call 1800 78 99 78


1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. Call 1800 737 732

Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office

The Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) provides immediate and confidential help to those impacted by sexual misconduct.

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