Getting Help

This page is for people who are being abused by their partner and who fear for their safety. A safety plan may be about leaving an abusive relationship or it may be about strategies you can do to temporarily make yourself a little safer whilst remaining in the relationship.
There are many different ways to make a safety plan. A plan needs to be made to suit your individual circumstances and will need to be updated when your circumstances change (example change of home, change of work, change in support network).

A safety plan is something you can create now, its purpose is to explore options to increase your safety (and the safety of any children, pets or other people in the home or involved). When domestic and family violence is happening, a personalised safety plan can help to reduce the risk of harm.

Make sure the plan is about what YOU can do, not what the perpetrator SHOULD do. It is not about preventing the abuse, because the abuse is not your (the victims) fault. It is about staying safe when the abuse is happening or is about to happen. Use what you know about the abuser as the best tool for planning safety.

Consider these points when safety planning:

  • Who do you trust that you can involve? You may need to include support people in your plan. An objective opinion for your safety plan can really help.  You could try using a safe word with them if you need to alert them to a problem. For example, you may be fearing for your safety so you text a predetermined safeword to alert your support person that you need help. Make the word neutral, like Switzerland, or it could simply be an emoticon. This way your message won’t draw unwanted attention from the abuser.
  • Have a small bag packed and hidden somewhere (maybe at work or a friend’s place) with a few essential items such as – medications, cash, ID, important papers, clean clothes and contact details of friends and services.
  • Know your quick exit route, out of the house and to your safe destination, what transport will you take if you need to leave?
  • Decide on the time when you will need to put your safety plan into action. For example leaving when they are at work. Staying at a friend’s when your partner has been drinking etc.
  • Teach your children what to do in the case of an emergency or when their safety is at risk.
  • Have a safe place for your pets to go – a friend’s or the RSPCA’s Safe Beds for Pets
If you are being abused, or even if you realise that you are abusing someone you love, it can feel very overwhelming, scary, confusing and isolating. If you have someone in your life that you can trust, like a family member, friend or counsellor then maybe it will help to talk to them.

Here are some tips for how to have that difficult conversation:

Safety First:

Make sure it is someone you can trust, someone who will put safety first, someone who can be judgment free and someone reliable.

Choose the right time and place:

Tell them you need to meet with them in private when they have enough time for a longer conversation with you. Make it clear that you need their undivided attention. Talk to them in a safe location where there is little chance of being overheard or interrupted.

Prepare for the reaction:

Talking about abuse is not easy and neither is hearing it. The person you are talking to may find the information hard to understand, hard to believe and hard to digest. They may minimise the abusive actions and say things like, ‘it can’t be that bad’ or, ‘maybe they are just going through a rough patch’.

We know that abuse is that bad, and that there are ZERO excuses for treating the people you love badly, but maybe your friend doesn’t know that or maybe they are in shock and don’t want to believe it. Try giving them time to absorb the information. Give them the details for this website. Tell them exactly what help you need and that includes their confidentiality. Once you have brought the abuse to their attention it will no doubt be on their mind and they will probably start to put the pieces of the puzzle together if they didn’t already know. But most importantly: Don’t doubt your own experiences or judgment!

To most people abusers may be charming and friendly and appear by all accounts to be a ‘good person’. This makes it hard as your friend/family member may not believe you at first, even if it is you who admits to being the abuser.

Some people prefer speaking to LGBTIQ specific professionals as they feel more comfortable speaking about their gender/sexuality without having to ‘come out’, explain, clarify and educate the professional. While other people prefer mainstream services or don’t mind either way. It is important to feel as comfortable as possible when speaking to someone about your abuse, but keep in mind that currently there are no 24/7 LGBTIQ counselling services in Australia, so if you are in danger you may need to call the police on triple zero (000) or if you need help out of office hours you may need to call your local police station or call a 24/7 counselling line such as 1800RESPECT.
The services listed in this website are LGBTIQ aware, however  some of the individual staff that you speak to may initially get your gender and/or sexuality wrong. If you feel like they do not understand your situation or they do not treat you fairly then you have a right to ask to speak to someone else or their manager. See our ‘Services That Can Help’ section if you feel that you have been discriminated against by a service.

When making initial contact with a service, you don’t need to give your name or your partner’s name. Of course you can choose how much information you do reveal, but keep in mind that the more information you give the professional, the easier it is for them to understand your situation and the more accurate their support can be.

When talking to a crisis service or a counsellor, everything you say will be confidential unless you tell them that you are thinking of hurting yourself or someone else, or that the safety and well-being of a child is at risk, then the professional will legally have to inform relevant services.

It’s important to realise that counsellors and service staff are used to dealing with all sorts of issues with their clients and that no problem is too big or small or odd to talk to them about.

Ask as many questions as you like and get as much information from them as you need – that’s what they’re there for.

Police are all trained in equity and diversity and should not show any discrimination when assisting you. However, despite this, many sexuality and gender diverse people are reluctant to contact the police due to a fear of discrimination and/or minimisation. This is mostly due to negative past experiences and a tense history between LGBTIQ people and the police. In recent years, the NSW Police Force have been working to improve this relationship.

Police should respect your preferred name, sex and gender. In some circumstances however, your gender at birth and your sexual preference may need to be disclosed.

Domestic Violence Liaison Officers (DVLOs) are specialist police officers trained to provide support and referral in relation to domestic and family violence. Most local area commands have one or more DVLOs, however they will usually only be at police stations during business hours.

GLLOs (formerly standing for Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer) are specialist police officers located in a range of areas including metropolitan and regional police stations. These officers are specially trained to work with LGBTIQ people. GLLOs are available to assist victims of domestic and family violence.

Please remember that both GLLOs and DVLOs are not available 24/7 but general police are.

You can try to contact a GLLO directly but some stations don’t have GLLOs and/or they may be on leave or not on duty.

You can call any police station to get the details for the most appropriate GLLO and/or DVLO.

Court staff are all trained in equity and diversity and should not show any discrimination during the court process. However, despite this, many LGBTIQ people are hesitant to deal with courts for fear of discrimination.

In 2008, the Australian Government introduced reforms to ensure that same sex de facto couples are entitled to the same benefits and subject to the same obligations as opposite sex couples.

The laws about AVOs are the same for LGBTIQ people as they are for non-LGBTIQ people.

The court is expected to respect your preferred name and pronoun however your gender history and sexuality may be disclosed. If you have changed your name then the name on your current identification is the name that the courts will use.

If you are caring for any children in your relationship, you should seek legal advice about your rights under the law.

Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC):

Provides free legal advice throughout NSW for anyone who is LGBTIQ. They are located in Kings Cross and have outreach services at some local courts across Sydney.

The Safe Relationships Project (SRP) is a part of the Inner City Legal Centre, it aims to provide LGBTIQ people who are experiencing DV with support, advocacy, referral and information. They will assist people in accessing legal representation and to apply for Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO) or Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVO).

To make an appointment call: 9332 1966 or 1800 244 481

Keep any evidence

The proof you keep may be used as evidence in court!

Keep a diary. Include both physical and non-physical incidents, make sure you date and time them, name the place and any witnesses. This type of documentation can be an integral part of your case when it comes time to file charges, or file for custody of your children. Keep the diary hidden online, if you write it on paper DON’T LEAVE IT WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND.

Keep any medical reports of injuries from the abuse. Ask your doctor about safe ways they can make notes about this abuse.

Take photos. Take pictures of any injuries from the abuse, any damage to the home and property as well. Record the date the photo was taken.

Record all other digital evidence. Let your abuser’s threatening calls go to voicemail, and then save those voicemails. Save emails, threatening texts, screenshots of several missed calls in a row, etc. This can all be used later. Save them in a safe place, send them to a private email account or another phone that the abuser cannot get to.

Computer:

  1. Visit the Web & App Activity You may be asked to sign in to your Google Account
  2. Check the box next to the item you want to delete. You can delete an entire day of items by checking the box next to a date.
  3. At the top of the page, click on  ‘delete’.

Android App:

Tip: If you want to delete your recent searches under the search box, touch and hold the search you want to delete > OK. The search will be deleted from the Google app and your Web & App Activity.

Delete items one at a time

  1. In the Web & App Activity section of “Activity controls,” touch Manage Activity. You may be asked to sign in to your Google Account.
  2. Check the box next to the item you want to delete. You can delete an entire day of items by checking the box next to a date.
  3. At the top of the page, touch Delete.

iPhone or iPad App:

Any searches that you do while using the Google app are stored on your iPhone or iPad (device history), and also in your Web & App Activity.

Delete recent searches from your device

When you’re searching in the Google app, you may see your recent searches appear as suggestions below the search box. You can delete these searches right from the search box.

  1. Open the Google app .
  2. Touch the search box that appears when you open the app.
  3. Swipe the search you want to remove to the left.
  4. Touch Delete.

Note: Any searches you’ve deleted from below the search box will be deleted from your iPhone or iPad device history, but a copy of the searches stays in your Web & App Activity.

The majority of LGBTIQ people who are trying to leave abusive relationships will look to their friends and family for a safe place to stay.

However, finding a suitable place is often not easy for many reasons, such as the fact that many sexuality and gender diverse people have lost the support from their networks as a result of their identity or lifestyle. Another reason is that confidentiality can be hard in small communities. An individual may not be ready to tell their friends and family what is happening or they may fear that the abuser will find them easily. For these reasons, sometimes formal, public housing options are the only option.

If you or a service you know offers safe accommodation for LGBTIQ people leaving an abusive relationship, please let us know.

GBTIQ Men:

Sadly at the moment there are no specific domestic violence refuges for men escaping abuse.

The main options available for men are:

– Commercial establishments such as hotels/motels/Airbnb.

Make sure that the staff at your accommodation do not email you an invoice or receipt in case the abuser has access to your emails. Create a new Airbnb profile if you need to.

Tell the staff not to give anyone your room number or details.

– Homelessness services

A homeless service is not ideal for someone escaping domestic violence, however they will have staff onsite who should offer you safety and be able to refer you on to other options. Most homeless services will not take children or pets.

Link2home is a state-wide homelessness information and referral telephone service.

For information, assessment or referral to homelessness services and support in NSW, call Link2home on 1800 152 152.

Link2home is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

From 9am to 10pm daily, Link2home provides callers with information, assessments and referrals to homelessness support and accommodation services across NSW.

Between the hours of 10 at night and 9 in the morning, Link2home provides information and assessment only and will refer people to emergency services if required. Referral to accommodation and support services will not be possible during these hours.

 

LBTIQ Women:

LBTIQ women can access women’s services and women’s refuges. Contact one of the services on our ‘services that can help page’ for accommodation referral options.

TGD people:

Many transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people are hesitant to access services due to a fear of discrimination, harassment or refusal of service from providers and other clients.

There are only two services state-wide that offer accommodation specifically to TGD people and both are in Sydney. Neither of these services are specifically domestic violence services.

The Gender Centre: For further information regarding the Gender Centre’s residential service, or the associated case management service, contact them between 9:00am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday on (02) 9519 7599

The Haymarket Foundation: Crisis support for men and women and transgender people experiencing homelessness who have a range of complex issues. If you are inquiring about crisis accommodation call (02) 9698 0555

Services that can help

In an emergency always call 000. If you or someone else has been assaulted or you are scared that you might be, call 000.

These services are only available to call during office hours, unless otherwise specified.


ACON: Free call 1800 063 060

www.acon.org.au

LGBTI health organisation offering information, referrals, counselling, advocacy and practical support for LGBTI people in NSW experiencing DFV.


Inner City Legal Centre, Safe Relationships Project: (02) 9332 1966

www.iclc.org.au/srp/

Free legal advice and court support for LGBTIQ people experiencing DFV in NSW.


QLIFE: 1800 184 527

www.qlife.org.au

Free telephone and web based counselling, referrals and support for LGBTIQ people and their families.

3pm – 12am every day.


Twenty10: (02) 8594 9555, rural free call: 1800 65 2010

www.twenty10.org.au

Provides a wide range of support services across NSW supporting people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and communities, including specialised services for young people (12-26), such as case management, counselling and supported accommodation. As well as information, referral and support for all ages.


The Gender Centre: (02) 9569 2366

www.gendercentre.org.au

Provides services such as counselling, accommodation, outreach and support for transgender, gender diverse and gender questioning people in NSW.


OII Australia – Intersex Australia

Provide information, education and peer support for intersex people nation-wide.

www.oii.org.au


Another Closet

www.anothercloset.com.au

For information and referral details on LGBTIQ domestic and family violence

In the past couple of years, many mainstream DFV services have been actively improving their policies and staff training to be more LGBTIQ inclusive. Services such as 1800RESPECT and Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, have been working with ACON to make their service more inclusive and understanding of LGBTIQ people’s specific needs. The benefit of services such as these is that counselling and crisis support from highly trained counsellors is available 24/7.

Mainstream crisis services:

1800RESPECT / Helpline: 1800 737 732

www.1800respect.org.au

Information and support for anyone in Australia experiencing DFV or sexual assault, 24 hours/day, 7 days/ week. The website has some specific LGBTIQ  information, just type LGBTIQ into the search function. It also has comprehensive information on how to support a friend.


NSW Domestic Violence Line: 1800 656 463

Information, telephone support and referrals for people who are victims of DFV, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week


NSW Victims Services: 1800 633 063, Aboriginal Line: 1800 019 123

www.victimsservices.justice.nsw.gov.au

Confidential support, free counselling, financial assistance, referral and information for all victims of DFV in NSW.


Lifeline: 13 11 14

www.lifeline.org.au

National crisis and suicide prevention telephone counselling, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.


Mensline: 1300 789 978

www.mensline.org.au

Australian wide telephone counselling (6 sessions) and referrals for men (GBTI inclusive).


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander:

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Serves (known as Aboriginal medical services/AMS)

ACCHS are health services initiated by Aboriginal people, based in a local Aboriginal community, which delivers a wholistic and culturally appropriate health service. To find the contact details of your nearest service visit

www.health.nsw.gov.au/aboriginal pages/contact.aspx


Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service: 1800 686 587

http://www.wirringabaiya.org.au/

Legal advice and support for a range of issues, including DFV.

For all women LBTIQ inclusive, however they do not work with men.

Lismore

ACON Northern Rivers: (02) 6622 1555

LGBTI health organisation offering information, referrals, counselling, advocacy and practical support for LGBTI people in NSW experiencing DFV.


Men and Family Centre:

Lismore (02) 66 22 6116 Tweed Heads (07) 55 368 868

http://www.menandfamily.org.au/contact/

The Centre has many programs for men and women.


ACON Hunter: Counselling, client support

Ph: 4962 7700

Email:  Hunter@acon.org.au


Jenny’s  Place: Women’s and Children’s crisis accom: 4929 6289

Single Women’s accommodation: 4963 6083

Email:  management@jennysplace.org


Young people – (16-24 years)

Samaritans – Intake: 4922 1502

shs.intake@samaritans.org.au

Short Term Accommodation:   Newcastle: 4955 8358   Maitland: 4933 9330


Carrie’s Place  (Maitland)

Programs for people experiencing domestic and family violence, and/or homelessness | Ph:  4934 2585 during office hours

Staying Home Leaving violence (women only) | Ph: 4937 1927

Hunter Valley Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy – Maitland, Singleton, Cessnock, Muswellbrook, Kurri Kurri | Ph: 4936 2906


Hunter Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service

Newcastle, Toronto, Belmont, Raymond Terrace

Ph: 4940 8766


NOVA for women and children

Provides affordable, transitional, supported accommodation to women with or without children in their care.

Intake Line: 4923 5629

Email:  nova@novawaas.org.au


Newcastle Family Support – Staying Home Leaving Violence project.
Ph: 4926 3577
Email: info@nfss.org.au


Relationships Australia

Ph: 4940 1500


Hunter Women’s Centre

Counselling, groups, case management
Ph:  4968 2511
Email: admin@hwc.org.au


VOCAL – Victims of Crime Assistance League

Ph: 4961 4755
info@vocal.org.au

Far South Coast

Southern Women’s Group – Women’s Resource Centre: (02) 6492 1367

Far South Coast Family Support Service: (02) 6492 3411


Shoalhaven

East Nowra Neighbourhood Centre: (02) 4422 1299

Nowra Neighbourhood Centre: (02) 4421 5077

Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre, Nowra: (02) 4422 9529

Southern Shoalhaven Youth Services, Ulladulla: (02) 4454 1761


Illawarra

Illawarra Legal Centre: (02) 4275 4713

Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre: (02) 4267 2500

Wollongong Women’s Information Services: (02) 4228 1499


Relationships Australia – LBQ women’s support group details

Broken Hill

Far West Community Legal Centre: (08) 8088 2020 or freecall: 1800 300 036

Warra Warra Legal Service: (08) 8087 6766 or freecall: 1800 812 800

A free community legal service assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of domestic and family violence and sexual assault in the Far West

Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service: (08) 8087 2053

New England & Western Tenant Advocacy Service Freecall: 1800 836 268


Griffith

Linking Communities Network: (02) 6964 4804 or After Hours 1800 650 051

Incorporating Links for Women • Youth Links • Brighter Futures • Riverina Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAS) • Early Intervention Placement Program • Joint Support Program • Emergency Accommodation • Partners in Recovery worker

Griffith Neighbourhood House: (02) 6962 4144


Wagga Wagga

Wagga Women’s Health Centre: (02) 6921 3333


Albury

The Hub: 1800 885 355

Safe Beds for Pets – RSPCA: (02) 9782 4408

www.rspcansw.org.au, email safebeds@rspcansw.org.au

Safe beds for Pets provides temporary housing and care for pets of people experiencing DFV. It is not a long-term solution, but it can give you peace of mind and gives you time to make arrangements for the future. In most cases, these animals are referred to the RSPCA from a domestic violence counselling service.

In Australia it is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation, gender, gender diversity, disability, age, race or marital status.

Certain services do have exemptions such as a women’s refuge who may refuse service to men, however it would be unlawful for any women’s service to discriminate against anyone who identifies and lives as a woman.

If you have contact with a worker or services (including counsellors, social workers, telephone services, doctors, police and the courts) that you believe does not respect your identity or refuses to acknowledge your relationship, you can ask to speak to a manager or someone in charge. If you feel OK to do so, you can make a formal complaint.

If you believe that you have experienced discrimination from a service provider you can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission on 1300 656 419 or the Anti-Discrimination Board NSW on 1800 670 812.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against by the police you can call the customer assistance line on 1800 622 571 or the NSW Ombudsman’s Office on 1800 451 524