Family Violence & Homelessness


The Australian Government’s White Paper, The Road Home: a national approach to reducing homelessness, highlighted the rising number of families and children experiencing homelessness as a result of family breakdown (which may be due to family violence or other reasons) or unstable housing, and also the importance of ensuring that children are protected against the long-term effects of the instability that results from homelessness.

The 2010–11 Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) report on Government-funded specialist homelessness services found that the largest group of clients of specialist homelessness services (including clients and accompanying children) were women with children (35%) (AIHW 2011b).

Domestic or family violence was the most commonly identified main reason for seeking assistance for all family members (32% of support periods).

What is Family Violence?

This is Domestic Violence Victoria's definition of Family Violence:

"Family Violence is the repeated use of violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour by an individual against a family member(s), or someone with whom they have, or have had an intimate relationship including carers.

Violent behaviour includes not only physical assaults but an array of power and control tactics used along a continuum in concert with one another, including direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, property damage, social isolation and behaviour which causes a person to live in fear.

Currently only certain behaviours and actions defined as family violence are criminal offences, any behaviour that constitutes family violence is unacceptable.

Family violence can occur within any intimate relationship, including same sex relationships. It affects trans gender people, the elderly and people with disabilities. While it can be perpetuated by any member of a family against another, it is more likely to be perpetrated by men (predominately by a woman’s current or ex-partner) against women and children.

Because family violence can occur in any culture, it is important that the definition of family violence recognises and reflects the perspectives and realities of all communities within Victoria, including Indigenous communities. The Victorian Indigenous Family Violence Taskforce has defined family violence as:

An issue focused around a wide range of physical, emotional, sexual, social, spiritual, cultural, psychological and economic abuses that occur within families, intimate relationships, extended families, kinship networks and communities. It extends to one on one fighting, abuse of Indigenous community workers, as well as self harm, injury and suicide."

Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence against Women and Children

On 9 October 2012, Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for Community Services and Women’s Affairs, Mary Wooldridge, launched Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence against Women and Children – Everyone has a responsibility to act.

The central tenet of the Action Plan is that violence against women and children in any form, in any circumstance and in any community is unacceptable.

The plan reflects the Victorian Government’s commitment to preventing violence happening, holding perpetrators to account for their actions and providing support to women and children who experience violence.

The Action Plan engages a range of Government areas and will also be driven through partnerships with community sector organisations. The Government is investing $90 million in 2012-2013 which will fund a range of prevention, early intervention and response measures.

For more information please visit the DHS Family Violence Action Plan webpage by clicking here

You can view or download a copy of the Action Plan here:

Support for people who are homeless as a result of Family Violence

Family violence is the most common reason people seek the assistance of the homelessness service system. Women and children requiring a specialist family violence response can contact any of the NW Access Point services, or the region’s Integrated Family Violence Entry Point services:

Berry Street
Target Group: Women and women with children escaping family violence
Address: 677 The Blv, Eaglemont
Telephone: (03) 9450 4700
Hours of operation: 9am - 5pm
Local Government Areas: Yarra; Central Business District of Melbourne; Hume; Moreland Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Darebin, and Banyule

Women’s Health West
Target Group: Women and women with children experiencing family violence
Address: 317-319 Barkly St, Footscray
Telephone: (03) 9689 9588
Hours of operation: 9am - 5pm
Local Government Areas: Wyndham, Moonee Valley, Maribyrong, Hobsons Bay, Melbourne, Flemington, Port Melbourne, Melton and Brimbank

Additional Options:

MYSS - Statewide Youth Access Point
The Melbourne Youth Support Service (MYSS) operates as a state-wide Access Point for Young People:
Address: 19 King Street, Melbourne
Telephone: (03) 9614 3688
Hours of operation: Mon - Fri 10am to 8pm; Weekends and Public Holidays 10am - 6pm

State-Wide and After Hours Access
Alternatively, people requiring homelessness assistance can call 1800 825 955 to be directed to the Victorian Homelessness Access Point service that is closest to them. Unfortunately this number is not a free call from mobile phones, but Access Point services can ring clients back on their mobile phone.

This number diverts to a state-wide response outside of business hours, including public holidays. A person ringing the number after hours will be assisted at the time and then directed to the most appropriate Access Point service on the next business day.

Regional Access Point Contact Details
For a listing of all Regional Access Points across the state, please visit the Office of Housing's Homelessness and Family Violence Getting Help webpage by clicking here.

Additional Services that can help

If you are in urgent and/or immediate danger please call the Police on: 000

For non-urgent police assistance squads can be contacted through local police stations listed in the White Pages Telephone Directory.

Safe steps Family Violence Response Centre provides

  • 24/7 family violence response line
  • Risk assessment
  • Emergency accommodation
  • Safety planning
  • Support
  • Information
  • Advocacy
  • Referral

For confidential support and information please call the safe steps 24/7 family violence response line 1800 015 188

Victorian Centres against Sexual Assault and the After Hours Sexual Assault Crisis Line provides a free confidential 24 hour emergency or crisis care service for victim/survivors who have recently been sexually assaulted.
24 Hours/ 7days per week
1800 806 292

Child Protection Crisis Line: To report concerns of child physical and/or sexual abuse.
24 Hours/ 7days per week
131 278

The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line offers confidential phone help and referral in Australia.
STD Freecall: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

In Touch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence gives voice and provides culturally sensitive services statewide to meet the needs of women and children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds (CALD) backgrounds affected by domestic violence.
(03) 8413 6800 or Freecall 1800 755 988

Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service
1800 105 303

Elizabeth Hoffman House Aboriginal Women's Family Violence Services provides crisis accommodation and support for Aboriginal women and spouses of Aboriginal men.
Refuge hours are 24 Hours/ 7days per week/52 days a year
24 hours refuge number: 0407 937 202
Administration and Outreach 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Ph: 9482 5744

Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) advocates on behalf of women with disabilities, and provides support and information to address the needs of women with disabilities in Victoria.

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard provides telephone counselling for lesbians and gay men, referral to face-to-face counselling and other services.
6-10pm each day, 2-10pm Wed.
9827 8544
1800 184 527

Domestic Violence Resource Centre of Victoria (DVRCV) is a statewide service in Victoria providing information and referral to specialist support services; helpful pamphlets and web sites; online information for people who have experienced family violence; professional training courses; a comprehensive library; a quarterly newsletter; discussion papers, books and other publications; and commentary on policy initiatives and law reform.
9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
(03) 9486 9866

Women's Information Referral Exchange, WIRE - Women's Information provides free information, support and referrals to women across Victoria.
9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
1300 134 130.
Walk in Centre: Ground Floor, Queen Victoria Women's Centre, 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne. 10:30am - 5pm Monday - Friday

Women's Legal Service Victoria provides legal advice to women in Victoria who are in need of legal advice, information or referral, irrespective of income or assets.
Monday and Friday mornings 10am - 1pm; Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6.30pm - 8.30pm; Wednesday afternoon 2pm - 5pm.
(03) 9642 0877 or STD Freecall 1800 133302

Womens Health Victoria (WHV) works to identify and respond to the health issues of the women of Victoria through a feminist perspective and a social model of health.

The Men's Referral Service is an anonymous and confidential telephone counselling service for men who are concerned about their violent/abusive behaviours.
12noon to 9:00pm Monday to Friday
(03) 9428 2899 or STD Freecall 1800 065 973 

Good Practice - Working together to support children and young people experiencing family violence

Family violence is recognised as a form of child abuse that impacts on children and young people’s development, safety and wellbeing.

This impact occurs when children and young people witness violence against mothers and other family members, when direct attacks are made on children and young people, and when children act to protect mothers. The absence of a safe and nurturing environment may also impact on children’s psycho-social development and outcomes in later life.

A key feature of the policy reforms for both the Victorian child and family services sector and the family violence sector has been the establishment of multi-service approaches that work together to more effectively meet the needs of children and young people.

This publication draws together a collection of case studies that highlight how practitioners from Child Protection, Child FIRST/Integrated Family Services and Family Violence services can effectively work together to improve outcomes for children and young people experiencing family violence.

To view or download the Good Practice Guide please click here:

Domestic Violence Victoria Inc (DV VIC)

Domestic Violence Victoria Inc. (DV Vic) is the peak body for the Family Violence Sector. It was established in 2002 to link and advocate on behalf of the common aims and needs of services across Victoria that provide support to women and children affected by violence.

DV Vic works to ensure the rights of women and children to live free from violence. They currently have a membership of approximately 50 women's family/domestic violence services operating across the state of Victoria.

DV Vic supports an evidence-based approach to policy and service provision that ensures that the best interests of women and children are central. As a peak body, they focus on ways to:
• to enhance the family violence service system;
• to promote good practice in violence prevention;
• to promote community responsibility for violence prevention;
• to support practice development and best practice models in the provision of services to women and children experiencing family violence;
• to provide advocacy and leadership to change and enhance systems;
• to facilitate communication between family violence services and other rstakeholders
• to facilitate systemic change;
• to inform public policy and research;
• to participate in fundraising and coordinate the distribution of direct aid to women and children experiencing hardship as a result of family violence.

Contact Domestic Violence Victoria (DV VIC)

ph 9921 0828

fax 9921 0827


Family violence networks in the North

Click here to access information about family violence services and networks in Melbourne's north

Family Violence Entry Point/Homelessness Access Point Protocol

This Protocol documents guides cross referrals between the family violence entry point services and homelessness access point services in Melbourne's north and west.