The Family Violence Protection Act (2008) describes family violence as physically, sexually, emotionally or financially abusive behaviour towards a family member. If you, or someone you know is experiencing family violence, support is available.
Family violence includes any behaviour that is threatening, coercive or dominating, which causes family members to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of themselves or another person.
Examples of family violence
Family violence can occur in many ways, including:
- physical violence or threat of violence towards a family member, pet or personal property.
- unwanted sexual behaviour, such as being forced into sexual activity.
- constant put-downs, ridicule, name calling, humiliation or insults.
- controlling behaviour, such as stopping someone from seeing people or leaving the house.
- stalking behaviour, such as repeatedly imposing unwanted communication or contact.
- limiting someone’s financial independence by not allowing them to have money or preventing them from working.
- not allowing a person to practice their religion.
- exhaustive legal action to intimidate, exploit or disempower a person.
- harmful behaviour in a relationship of trust with an older person.
What can you do about family violence?
- Always have your phone with you and save emergency contact numbers in it.
- Keep your location private by turning off location services on your phone. Don’t make posts on social media.
- Make a safety plan, including safe places you can go in an emergency. It might be homes of friends or family.
- Use the private browsing setting in your internet browser to ensure your search history can’t be viewed.
- Change passwords and increase privacy settings on social media. Ensure your profiles are set to private.
- Tell trusted people in your support network about the behaviour and seek their advice. This may include friends, family, neighbours, work mates or peers/staff at university.
- Request that trusted people avoid contact with the abusive person and do not provide them with any information about you, such as your location.
- Report behaviour to the university, e.g. teaching staff, security services, or Safer Community, who can link you in with other support services.
- Seek help from professional support services.
- Seek legal advice about your rights and options.
- Keep a logbook of all incidents of abusive behaviour with dates and times.
- Save a history of all messages, emails, social media posts, photos and medical records related to the abusive behaviour. Take screen shots where possible.
- Report the abusive behaviour to the police to investigate.
- If you're in immediate danger of physical harm, report to the police immediately on 000.
- Consider applying for an intervention order that forbids the person from contacting you. Carefully consider whether this is the right action to take given your situation, as these orders don’t deter all perpetrators of family violence.
At Swinburne, we are committed to keeping our community of students, staff and on-campus visitors safe. If you feel unsafe on campus call Swinburne security on +61 3 9214 3333.
Services available on campus include:
Our private and confidential counselling service is available to help you through your situation. Register and make an appointment to see a counsellor. Or call the counselling team on +61 3 9214 8483.
The Swinburne crisis line is available to help you 24 hours a day on weekends and public holidays, and after business hours on weekdays (before 9.00am and after 5.00pm). Call 1300 854 144 or text 0488 884 145.
Outside of Swinburne, there are 24/7 support services available for people experiencing family violence to get help. If your life is in immediate danger, call the police on 000.
Other services include:
National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Service
24/7 phone and online counselling service for victims of family violence.
Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response service for women and children.
Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS)
Specialist family violence service in Melbourne’s eastern metropolitan region.
Men's Referral Service (No to Violence)
Advice and support for men concerned about their anger or violence towards their family.
Magistrates Court of Victoria
Visit www.magistratescourt.vic.gov.au for information about applying for a personal safety intervention order.