Family Violence Support

Northern Health is committed to providing support for victim survivors of family violence. This page aims to provide information about family violence and available support services

What is Family Violence?

Family violence is behaviour by a person towards a family member that is:

  • Physically or sexually abusive
  • Emotionally or psychologically abusive
  • Economically abusive
  • Threatening, coercive or dominating
  • Causes fear

Family violence is complex and effects people of all genders and sexualities. It includes violence in many family contexts including, intimate partner or former intimate partner relationships, same sex relationships, across generations, elder abuse, in family-like carer relationships, extended family relationships and kinship networks.

Family violence is unacceptable in any form, across any community or culture.

Family violence is a crime.

Describing Family Violence:

Violence may include:

  • Physical violence – hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, and choking
  • Sexual violence – rape, forcing you to do sexual acts you do not want to do, unwanted sexual touching or comments
  • Emotional or psychological violence – putting you down, making you feel stupid, swearing at you, and calling you names
  • Economic violence – keeping money from you, not allowing you to have access to money
  • Controlling behaviour – stopping you from being with your family or friends, or participating in community or religious and cultural events
  • Coercive behaviour – using power over you to get you to do things you do not want to do

Violence is behaviour that makes you feel scared, isolated, worthless or disconnected from your family or community. Violence is also behaviour that threatens the safety, security and wellbeing of children.

The Health Impacts of Family Violence:

Family violence is a serious health issue that has a profound impact on the psychological and physical well-being of victim survivors. Family violence is common and effects people across the lifespan. Family violence does not discriminate and anyone can be a victim of family violence. It occurs across all ages and socioeconomic groups, but overwhelmingly effects women and children.

In Victoria, family violence is the biggest cause of early death, disability and illness in women aged between 15 and 44 years. It is also the main contributor to depression and anxiety in women. Family violence can affect your social situation, your friendships, your ability to work and be involved in your community and your financial circumstances.

Women with a history of intimate partner violence are more likely to:

  • Smoke and have alcohol or drug problems
  • Have an abnormal cervical screening test or have contracted a sexually transmitted infection
  • Be diagnosed with a mental illness
  • Suffer from a chronic lung condition, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, or bowel problems
  • Experience chronic pain and fatigue

The impacts of violence on health may vary according to the different stages of life:

  • Children have an increased risk of mental health problems, behavioural difficulties, and developmental delays.
  • Young women are at increased risk of having an unplanned pregnancy, an abortion, or a miscarriage.
  • Many women are assaulted when they are pregnant, increasing the risk of complications in their pregnancy and on their baby’s health.
  • In midlife, women who have lived with a violent partner are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
  • Older women who have experienced violence use health services more frequently even after the violence has ceased.

Family Violence Support:

If you are experiencing family violence or are afraid of someone you know please talk to a health professional at Northern Health. Our staff have received family violence training and can offer support and referral.

Safe Steps (24/7): 1800 015 188
Family violence crisis response service to assist women and children experiencing family violence. Safe Steps provide crisis accommodation for women and children escaping family violence.

1800 RESPECT (24/7): 1800 737 732
The national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support service.

The Orange Door: 1800 319 353
Service for adults and children who have experienced family violence or elder abuse and for families who need extra support with the care and wellbeing of their children. The Orange Door also provides services for perpetrators of family violence.

Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault (NCASA):9496 2240
Specialist sexual assault service that provides sexual assault crisis response and therapeutic counselling following sexual assault to victim survivors and other affected family members.

With Respect: 1800 542 847
Service for LGBTIQ+ people and their children who experience or use family violence. With Respect provides counselling, case management and recovery programs.

InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence: 1800 755 988
Service for women and children from multicultural communities who have experienced family violence.

Djirra: 1800 105 303
Legal service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have experienced family violence.

Seniors Rights Victoria: 1300 368 821
Provides information, support, advice, and education in response to elder abuse.

Kids Helpline (24/7): 1800 55 1800
Counselling service for children and young people aged between 5 and 25 years.

MensLine (24/7): 1300 789 978
Confidential telephone and online professional counselling for men experiencing family and relationship concerns and emotional wellbeing issues.

Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
Confidential telephone counselling, information, and referral for men to support them to stop using violent and controlling behaviours.

What are we doing?

As a health service we recognise the unique position Northern Health is in when identifying and responding to family violence. We are committed to reducing the incidence of family violence and its impact on individuals, families and our community.

Northern Health has implemented the Strengthening Hospital Response to Family Violence Program in order to strengthen our whole-of-hospital response to family violence.

Northern Health will continue to work to prevent family violence and all other forms of violence in our community.