Family violence

The City of Port Phillip aims to be a safe, inclusive and liveable city where everyone feels safe in their homes, workplaces and places of recreation. We want our community to live free from violence.

What is family violence?

Family violence is any threatening, coercive, dominating or abusive behaviour that occurs between people in a family, domestic or intimate relationship, or former intimate relationship, that causes the person experiencing the behaviour to feel fear. In Australia, it is against the law for any member of your family, including your partner, children, siblings or in-laws, to hurt or control you.

Family violence includes (but is not limited to):

  • Any type of physical violence (hitting, punching, biting, choking)
  • Being forced to do sexual acts, even if you are married or in a relationship
  • Making threats or any kind of verbal abuse
  • Denying access to money
  • Controlling contact with people outside the family
    Stalking (including online)
  • Intentionally hurting a pet
  • Children witnessing this abuse.

It is never your fault.

Often, people affected by family violence feel alone and isolated, perhaps even guilty or ashamed or feel like they deserve what is happening to them. Many victim-survivors suffer the effects of family violence alone, and the violence goes unreported. If you are worried about someone, or need to seek help yourself, contact one of the support services below.

Where to go for help

In an emergency

If you are in danger, or there is immediate risk of harm to yourself or others call 000 for Police.

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre has a 24-hour family violence response phone line which can be reached on 1800 015 188; If you cannot safely call the phone line, email

Crisis and counselling services

The following list of crisis and counselling services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ServicePhone number
Safe Steps Family Violence Response1800 015 188
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service (1800RESPECT)1800 737 732
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Men's Line Australia1300 789 978

Resources for people affected by domestic violence

Help and support for all people affected by family violence may also be found through the following specialist services:

Preventing family violence

There is no single cause of family violence and violence against women. But current evidence, outlined in Change the Story: a shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia, tells us that higher levels of violence against women are consistently associated with lower levels of gender equality.

Actions that will prevent violence against women:

  • Challenge the condoning of violence against women. We do not accept that violence against women is normal or inevitable and we will challenge any attitudes or practices that minimise or excuse it.
  • Promote women’s independence and decision-making. We ensure that women have access to the same resources, power and opportunities as men.
  • Challenge outdated gender stereotypes and roles. We support children, young people and adults to develop their own personal identities free from restrictive rules and stereotypes. And we promote gender-equitable roles in parenting, paid and unpaid work and other areas.
  • Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relationships. We challenge disrespectful behaviour towards women, and assumptions that men should have power and control in relationships. And we work with children and young people to promote respect and gender equality.
  • Promote and advance gender equality in public and private life. We support women’s social, economic, cultural and political participation, as well as equality in relationships.

Council’s role in preventing family violence

City of Port Phillip is committed to providing a whole of community approach to preventing family violence. Council has considerable influence and access to the local community through partnerships, collaborations and the services that we provide. We work closely with individuals, families, community organisations, local businesses, sporting clubs and faith groups. We impact the community through planning, facilities and infrastructure provision, as well as being a large employer and procurer of goods and services.

Advancing gender equality

Victoria’s new Gender Equality Act 2020 provides an opportunity for Council to align our efforts with the Victorian Government’s enhanced commitment to gender equality.

The Act requires local government to take positive action towards achieving workplace gender equality, and to promote gender equality in our policies, programs and services. Council is currently developing our first four-year Gender Equality Action Plan (2021-2025) to advance workplace gender equality. We are also conducting gender impact assessments of policies, programs and services that have a significant impact on the community. This gender analysis will enable us to consider the impacts of our work on people of different genders and how our policies, programs and services can better support people of all genders and promote gender equality.

Preventing Violence Together strategy

‘Preventing Violence Together – A strategy for the Southern Metropolitan Region’ is an initiative of Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE) in collaboration with partner organisations including the City of Port Phillip. The strategy coordinates a consistent approach to the prevention of violence against women and their children across the Southern Metropolitan Region.

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence


The United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign that takes place annually between 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day). Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights abuses in the world.

In Australia, on average, one woman is murdered by a current or former partner each week. Almost 10 women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse or intimate partner. In Victoria (indeed in Australia as a whole), intimate partner violence is a leading contributor of disability and illness in women aged 15-44. Domestic and family violence is also one of the main reasons why women and children become homeless in Australia.

Domestic and family violence can affect anyone. But overwhelmingly the evidence shows that women are far more likely to experience violence from an intimate partner than men. Some groups of women are at greater risk, particularly Indigenous women, young women, pregnant women, women separating from their partners, women with disability and trans women.

The Art of Respect

Coinciding with the international 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, City of Port Phillip is taking part in Respect Victoria’s state-wide Respect Women: 'Call it Out' initiative. This initiative encourages councils, community health and other organisations to engage our diverse communities in conversations about gender equality and respect, ultimately contributing to the prevention of gender-based violence.

Respect sits at the core of all safe, healthy and equal relationships. Gender inequality involves devaluing or disrespecting women and their contributions. Research has consistently found that these forms of disrespect increase the likelihood of violence against women.

Through the 'Art of Respect' project, we aim to raise awareness and start conversations in our community about gender equality and respect by showcasing artists’ work in prominent locations throughout the City. We seek to generate support for gender equality, and importantly, encourage people to take action when they witness disrespect towards women and girls. Not all disrespect towards women results in violence. But all violence against women starts with disrespectful behaviour.

Council is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified artists for the design of decals to be installed across the municipality during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2021).

Artists can include:

  • visual artists
  • poets
  • graphic designers
  • illustrators
  • lyricists
  • children’s book writers and illustrators
  • street artists
  • authors.

We are committed to supporting artists with diverse backgrounds and identities, including First Nations, young people, older people, people with disability, culturally and linguistically diverse and LGBTIQA+ people.

Apply for the project

Artists who live, work, study or have a close connection to the City of Port Phillip are strongly encouraged to apply through an Expression of Interest (PDF 230 KB).

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