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Domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence is a crime and Council takes a stand against it. Domestic and family violence includes any form of controlling or abusive behaviour from spouse or intimate partner, an ex-partner, or a family member.
sad woman

Get help now

During periods of stress and uncertainty, domestic violence cases can rise dramatically. If you are confined at home with someone who is acting aggressively, intimidating you or sexually or psychologically abusing you, please do not hesitate to get help by phoning a domestic violence hotline: 

  • Lifeline, 24-hour telephone crisis support – confidential, professional and welcoming for all religions, ages, genders, and sexual orientation. For crisis support call 13 11 14.
  • 1800RESPECT website– National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. Online Chat available 24 hours a day.
  • Translating and Interpreting service – free telephone or onsite interpreters in your own language. Available 24 hours every day of the year. Call 131 450
  • Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCASs) - provide women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence with information, advocacy and referrals - 1800 WDVCAS. Call 1800 938 227.
  • Women's Legal Service NSW (WLS) is a community legal centre providing women across NSW with a range of free legal services or call the Advice Line on 1800 801 501.
  • National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) - provide specialist, culturally safe legal services and supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims / survivors of family violence across Australia. Call 03 9244 3333
  • ACON Factsheet on COVID-19: LGBTIQ and HIV Communities or free-call 1800 063 060
  • Cumberland Homelessness Service for Single Women and Women with Children Escaping Domestic Violence - This service targets single women over 25 years of age who are homeless or at risk of homelessness within the Parramatta, Auburn and Holroyd areas, and women with children experiencing domestic and family violence within the Parramatta and Holroyd areas. It has a strong focus on responses for Aboriginal women and is accessible to women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Call 9891 2277

Domestic and family violence is a crime

Any form of controlling or abusive behaviour used against another person in a household is considered to be domestic or family violence. It can include:

  • Physical assault – including rough handling, hitting or causing pain
  • Psychological and emotional abuse – including insulting or degrading comments
  • Sexual assault – including making the victim do things they don’t want to do
  • Threatening to harm loved ones, children or pets
  • Financial abuse – keeping money and other resources from a partner
  • Social abuse – not allowing someone to see family or friends
  • Stalking – being followed or watched by an individual, both in person or on social media
  • Harassment – including phone calls, text messages and social media comments
  • Restrictions on practicing faith or applying spiritual intimidation
  • Breaching an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order 

If you are in an emergency situation, call 000 immediately.

Remember, the victim is never to blame for another person’s violence

About domestic and family violence

What to look for

  • The offender is a relative or someone else the victim loves
  • The victim gets blamed for the offender’s actions
  • The offender threatens the victim to stop the victim from leaving
  • Even though the abusive behaviour happens at home, it’s still a crime
  • It’s hard for the victim to escape the abuse, as the victim often depends on the offender and/or is emotionally connected to them

Typical behaviours

A pattern of behaviour usually forms, which allows the offender to control a family member or loved one:

  • The abuse can happen once, a few times over a long period, or increase over time
  • Abuse is more likely when the offender is stressed, drunk or drug affected
  • Offenders often prevent victims from getting help from friends or social networks (as it limits their control)
  • Victims put up with the abuse, hoping things will improve
  • Victims can be afraid of ending the relationship, due to physical, financial and social risks

How children are affected

Children can be deeply affected by family and domestic violence – even when the abuse isn’t directed at them personally.

In households where abuse occurs, children are at risk of psychological harm. They can suffer the same sense of powerlessness, despair and emotional distress as the victim, even if they never see the abuse.

Safety planning

For people experiencing abuse from family members, it’s important to have a safety plan. This may require help from a friend or another family member. Here are some ideas:

  • Contact a support service (see list below) for help with a detailed safety plan
  • Contact a trusted friend or family member if feeling unsafe
  • Write down ideas of things you can do and places you can go to when feeling unsafe
  • Update the safety plan if circumstances change – such as moving or ending a relationship
  • Talk to the support services listed below for professional, understanding advice what you may be able to do

Keep your safety plan hidden and only share it with the friend/s or family member you trust

Download Daisy: a domestic violence help app

Daisy is a phone app that provides information about support services in the local area of people experiencing domestic abuse. It also includes safety features to protect the privacy of people using the service.

This is a free app that was developed by 1800RESPECT – The National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service.

Download Daisy now

Responding to domestic and family violence

Western Sydney Local Health District have developed a series of guides to support the responses of individuals and sectors during and beyond COVID-19. Side 1 of each guide takes a focus on considerations for now, and side 2 takes a focus on being informed and ready for what is needed next for people experiencing domestic and family violence. Supporting people during and beyond COVID-19 is our shared responsibility and no sector can create safety alone.

Find out what Council is doing

Cumberland City Council takes a strong stand against domestic and family violence. Find out what actions Council is taking here.