Family violence can happen to anyone. It’s extremely likely that people you know are currently experiencing it. These are regular, everyday people – in your congregation, small group, organisation or friendship circle.
As leaders, it is more important than ever that we equip ourselves to notice and respond well to family violence.
This blog post will look at some key resources you can access if you or someone you know needs family violence support. Although far from comprehensive, we hope it will equip you to confidently know where to go for help when the need arises.
Before we get to that, there is something important I need to say: do not assume that ‘leaving’ is the only or best solution for someone experiencing family violence. That person is the expert of their situation and you need to trust that they understand its complexities better than you do.
So, here are some of our go-to resources at LifeCare’s Women’s Centre.
1.Safe Steps – 1800 015 188
This is Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response service for women and children. If you’re in another state or territory, this website will help you find the crisis service for you: www.dss.gov.au/women/help-is-here-campaign
You can find the number for Safe Steps easily by googling it – but why don’t you save it in your phone right now?
This service is a great starting point for anyone seeking family violence support. They can provide:
- Crisis support – they can complete risk assessments, help develop safety plans, assist with crisis housing and material aid. However, they are not the Police. If someone is in an unsafe situation that requires an emergency response, please call 000.
- Advice and Referrals
Safe Steps is often the first service I will call if someone is seeking family violence support and not already linked in with any services. I’ve called them just to get advice, and at other times to seek crisis support for someone who has just escaped a family violence situation. They are comprehensive and if they can’t help, they’ll lead you to the service that can.
This website is our go-to! It is Australia-wide and can help you find the right service for a multitude of support needs, such as family violence, housing and material aid.
Simply type ‘Ask Izzy’ into any online search engine or download the app. Once you’re on the webpage, you can enter the type of support you are looking for. The website will ask you some questions, such as where the person lives and what their gender is. After you answer these questions, the site will tell you what services are nearby that can help.
Why don’t you go check out their website right now?
Go on, have a play! This resource is fantastic and once you start using it you’ll never go back.
- MensLine and Men’s Referral Service
As leaders, we also need to know how to link perpetrators of family violence into support services. Here are two great phone lines that you can call or pass on to men.
MensLine Australia is a nation-wide telephone and counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns, including issues of violence. Their number is 1800 737 732 and they are available 24/7.
Men’s Referral Service is also a nation-wide service. They provide telephone counselling, information and referral services for men using or at risk of using violent or controlling behaviours. Their number is 1300 766 491. They are available Mon-Fri 8am-9pm and 9am-5pm on weekends.
- Local Family Violence Services
In every area of Australia, there is a government-funded, local, specialist family violence organisation. They provide a multitude of services and programs which include:
- Risk assessments and help developing a safety plan
- Case management support
- Access to funding – this could be for moving costs, security measures, psychological support, educational costs, material aid – the list goes on!
- Referrals to other support services
You can normally find your local service by googling your suburb and ‘specialist family violence service’. The local service for us is called the Eastern Domestic Violence Outreach Service, or EDVOS.
Why don’t you find out who your local service is and give them a call? They will be happy to tell you about the support they offer. We highly recommending building this relationship.
There are so many other services out there. If you’re in Victoria, head to the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) website (below) to see the family violence services available in your region.
That’s it from us. Remember to:
- Save the numbers for Safe Steps, MensLine and Men’s Referral Service to your phone
- Explore and bookmark the Ask Izzy website
- Find out who your local family violence service is and give them a call
- Check out DVRCV’s website to find more services in your area
Women’s Centre Team Leader, Crossway LifeCare