Domestic and Family Violence

Anyone can experience domestic and family violence. It happens across all communities, ages, cultures and sexes.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour through which a person seeks to control and intimidate another person. It is a series of events that aim to undermine a person’s confidence.

Domestic violence is abuse and is a behaviour that seeks to control and intimidate by lowering a person’s confidence, fear and through isolation.

One in six women in Australia have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15. 

Domestic and family violence can take many forms which include:

  • Physical assaults — choking, beating, pushing and threatening physical harm, harming or threatening to harm children loved ones or pets. It may also include threatening harm to themselves if their partner tries to leave the relationship.
  • Emotional abuse — name calling, disrespectful treatment
  • Verbal abuse — yelling, demeaning comments
  • Sexual abuse — forced sex, forced sexual acts, threats of sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse — denying money, preventing someone from earning a living, forcing someone to go into debt, demanding money
  • Social abuse — isolating people from friends and family, using family to intimidate, monitoring contacts on social media.
  • Psychological abuse — blaming their partner for being abused, telling the person being abused that they have mental health problems, manipulating and twisting reality, denying abusive behaviours
  • Legal abuse — exploiting the family law system to intimidate, exhaust, exploit or disempower someone.

It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there is help out there. Below are some resources on how you, or someone you know, can get assistance and support through domestic and family violence. For more specific help, please see our tool kit below.

  • 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) — National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service (24 hrs)
  • Relationships Australia – information on relationship support services for individuals, families and communities. Phone: 1300 364 277
  • NSW Domestic Violence Line – for women and same-sex partners who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence. Phone: 1800 656 463
  • NSW Rape Crisis – for anyone who is or has experienced sexual violence and their supporters. Phone: 1800 424 017
  • Mensline Australia – supports men and boys who are dealing with domestic and family violence and relationship difficulties. Phone: 1300 789 978. Online chat is also available:
  • For information about receiving a Centrelink crisis payment to help you with immediate financial concerns, contact Centrelink on 13 2850 or find information online
  • Some banks offer support for customers experiencing domestic and family violence. Call your bank to see how they can assist you.


If you need immediate help call 000.

Domestic violence – Toolkit

For Crisis Support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7) or via text (12pm-6am AEDT) on 0477 13 11 14

  • SAHSSI – Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra.
  • Women Illawarra – provides a range of Domestic & Family Violence support services for women in the Illawarra. 
  • Safe Haven (Illawarra Shoalhaven) – drop-in centre located at 55 Urunga Parade, Wollongong. Hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 2:00PM-10:00PM. Phone: 0401 561 164
  • PopIn (Southern Highlands) – a safe place helping women get back on their feet located at 2 Mona Road, Bowral. Phone: 02 4872 1229

Are you experiencing domestic violence? Contact 1800 RESPECT to gain specific information related to your situation. Contact 000 if you are at immediate risk or if you are suicidal.

Make a safety plan.

Seeking help can feel hard but gaining support and feeling empowered within your situation is important. Safety plans are put into place to empower the person being abused. 

What does a safety plan look like?

Have an escape plan:

  1. Plan emergency exit routes from all rooms in the house.
  2. Have a small escape bag ready with essential documents, spare keys, cash, medicines, etc.
  3. Have your own mobile phone, preferably pre-paid so there is no bill that can be monitored.
  4. Know where you are going — do you have a trusted family or friend that you can stay with, write their number down so you can contact them if needed.
  5. Ask a trusted neighbour to call 000 if they hear fighting.
  6. Try to keep a record of frightening events.
  7. Collect local services numbers e.g. taxi, crisis phone line and local police station address.


Some important points about your safety plan:

  • Safety plans need to be regularly updated when situations change.
  • Contact domestic violence services as they are able to provide support, assist in making a safety plan and put you in touch with other services e.g. legal advice.
  • A safety plan is not about taking responsibility for the perpetrator’s violence, it is aiming to increase safety.
  • If children are involved, they need to be taken into account in the plan. 

Domestic and Family Violence Response Training

At Lifeline South Coast, we are committed to raising the awareness of Domestic and Family Violence. We have a committed training team who deliver DV-alert – a nationally accredited free training program.

From public awareness to specialist workshops for frontline workers, our free training program is about recognising the signs of domestic and family violence, and knowing what to do next. 

See our workshop options

For 24-hour telephone crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

If life is in danger, call 000

Lifeline South Coast would like to acknowledge the lives that have been lost to suicide. We are committed to supporting those with a lived experience of suicide and aim to reduce the stigma around seeking help for poor mental health and suicidal crisis.