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.

Get help now

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or abuse including physical, emotional, financial, sexual, verbal, cultural or religious abuse please see below for telephone and online help services and resources. If you are in immediate danger please call Triple 000.

For further information and for resources in community languages, please also see Educational Video Resources.

  • 1800RESPECT website - National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. Online Chat 24 hours a day or call 1800 737 732 .
  • Aboriginal DFV Hotline - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday - contact line for information on your rights, how to access counselling and financial assistance. Call 1800 019 123.
  • 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 02 9891 2277.
  • Immigration Advice and Rights Centre - provides free legal advice that is subject to income tests and priority is given to particularly vulnerable members of the community including those experiencing family violence, people with disability, homeless people and asylum-seekers and refugees. Call 02 8234 0700.
  • Kids Help Line - is a 24-hour 7-day telephone and online webchat counselling service, anytime for any reason - Call 1800 551 800.
  • 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.
  • Men's Line Australia - is a telephone and online webchat counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. Support for Australian men anywhere, anytime. Call 1300 789 978
  • Men's Referral Service - is a 24-hour 7-day telephone or webchat counselling service working with men who use family violence, and the sector that supports them, to change their abusive and violent behaviour. Call 1300 766 491.
  • NSW Domestic Violence Line - is a 24-hour 7-day line to connect with a caseworker to get hospital care, counselling and family support services, understanding Apprehended Violence Order's (AVO) and how to get one and develop a safety plan, find emergency accommodation and obtain help with transport for you and your children, talk to the police, courts and lawyers. Call 1800 656 463.
  • National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) - provide specialist, culturally safe legal services and supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons experiencing family violence across Australia. Call 03 9244 3333
  • NSW Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Counselling Australia provide telephone, online and face to face counselling to people of all genders who have experienced sexual, domestic or family violence, and their supporters. Call 1800 424 017. 
  • Services Australia resources on 'How to protect yourself when dealing with us - If you are looking to get out of a violent relationship and need help with Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support. Services Australia have launched a web page detailing how you can protect yourself. This web page is available in more than 30 languages and features a 'quick exit button' to close the page and display another website, if necessary.
  • Translating and Interpreting service (TIS) – free telephone or onsite interpreters in your 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 - Call 1800 WDV CAS or 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.

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 rape or making the person do things they don’t want to do
  • Threatening to harm others including, family members 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 intimidation on the basis of culture or religion
  • Breaching an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order 

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

Remember, the person experiencing violence is never to blame for another person’s abusive actions and behaviours.

About domestic and family violence

What to look for

  • The offender is known to the person. A relative, partner or ex-partner.
  • The person experiencing violence often gets blamed for the offender’s actions
  • The offender uses threatening and controlling behaviour and prevents the person from leaving.
  • Even though the abusive behaviour happens at home, and the offender is known to you, the abuse is a crime
  • It can be hard for the person experiencing violence to escape the abusive person, as they are frequently made fearful for their safety and have limited access to financial and social supports.

Typical behaviours

A pattern of behaviour can form, which allows the offender to control a family member or partner or ex partner.

  • The abuse can happen once, a few times over a long period, or increase over time
  • Offenders often prevent people experiencing violence from getting help from friends or social networks (as it limits their control)
  • People 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 and developmental harm. They can suffer the same sense of powerlessness, despair and emotional distress as the person experiencing violence, even if they never see the abuse.

Safety planning

For people experiencing abuse from family members, partners or ex-partners, 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
  • Think about 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 and family violence. 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.