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Domestic and Family Violence Tool Kit

The Purple Book

“The Purple Book is a fantastic resource developed by the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc covering all aspects of Domestic and Family Violence and support services available on the Gold Coast.”

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Multicultural Families Organisation (MFO)

MFO is the central agency supporting CALD, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families and Communities on the Gold Coast for more than 20 years. We believe multiculturalism makes a rich contribution to Australian society and we are committed to empowering individuals and communities through our various programs and services. MFO’s dedicated staff originate from 16 different countries and share a passion for equality, social justice and human rights.

The Leaders of Positive Change Initiative

MFO is taking a strong stand against all kinds of violence and abuse. Working to initiate and motivate positive changes is a major commitment for us, and it influences all our work. Since the beginning of 2016 MFO has organised conferences and facilitated dialogues with the intention to encourage individuals and groups to join in becoming Leaders of Positive Change.


The aim is to motivate the whole community to become involved and grow into a powerful influencer in changing discriminating attitudes and abusive behaviour based on gender, faith, race, or culture. 

The Tool Kit

This Took Kit has been developed to assist the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities to raise awareness of Domestic and Family Violence (DFV), support victims and promote respectful relationships within their own community.  This Tool Kit collates valuable information and resources that have been developed by various state and federal government agencies, specialist organisations and frontline services with expertise in the area of DFV. 

The Tool Kit intends to give guiding and supporting information to assist community leaders to address the issue of DFV in their community. Please note, that it is crucial for the safety and benefit of victims and community members, that women are immediately referred to a professional organization that specialises in safely supporting victims.

We have also included a link to the DV Toolkit that has been developed by 1800RESPECT for Frontline Workers Toolkit at: (you need to register to access this).

What is Violence Against Women?
What is violence against Women

Excerpt from the Department of Social Services:


The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children

The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children

Violence against women does not mean only physical violence. It is much broader and includes sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse. The National Plan targets two main types of violence against women – domestic and family violence, and sexual assault.

On an international level, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women provides the following definition:

‘The term violence against women means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.’


The laws in each Australian state and territory have their own definition. While there is no single definition, the central elements of domestic violence include:


  • acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship;

  • an ongoing pattern of behaviour aimed at controlling a partner through fear, for example by using behaviour which is violent and threatening. In most cases, the violent behaviour is part of a range of tactics to exercise power and control over women and their children, and can be both criminal and non-criminal; and

  • the threatening or violent behaviour can comprise of physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse.


Physical violence can include slaps, shoves, hits, punches, pushes, being thrown down stairs or across the room, kicking, twisting of arms, choking, and being burnt or stabbed.

Psychological and emotional abuse can include a range of controlling behaviours such as control of finances, isolation from family and friends, continual humiliation, threats against children or being threatened with injury or death.

Financial or economic abuse includes forcibly controlling another person’s money or other assets. It can also involve stealing cash, not allowing a victim to take part in any financial decisions or preventing a victim from having a job.

Family violence is a broader term that refers to violence between family members, as well as violence between intimate partners. It involves the same sorts of behaviours as described for domestic violence. As with domestic violence, the National Plan recognises that although only some aspects of family violence are criminal offences, any behaviour that causes the victim to live in fear is unacceptable. The term ‘family violence’ is the most widely used term to identify the experiences of Indigenous people, because it includes a broad range of marital and kinship relationships in which violence may occur.

Sexual assault or sexual violence can include rape, sexual assault with implements, being forced to watch or engage in pornography, enforced prostitution, and being made to have sex with friends of the perpetrator.

Research has demonstrated that violence against women often involves a continuum of violence from psychological, economic and emotional abuse through to physical and sexual violence.

Further Information

Impact on health – Burden of Disease by ANROWS:

Excerpt from Our Watch:

Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast – the Purple Book

Facts and Figures about DFV
Facts and Figures
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“Between 80 and 100 Australian women die at the hands of their male partners every year – and a  woman in Australia is more likely to be killed in her own home by her male partner than anywhere else or by anyone else.”  

(*The ABS Personal Safety Survey 2006)





Key Facts about DFV

The following basic statistics help demonstrate the prevalence and severity of violence against women:

  • On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.6

  • 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.2 

  • 1 in 5 Australian women has experienced sexual violence.3 

  • 1 in 6 Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by current or former partner.4

  • 1 in 4 Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.5

  • Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.6

  • Australian women are almost four times more likely than men to be hospitalised after being assaulted by their spouse or partner.7 

  • Women are more than twice as likely as men to have experienced fear or anxiety due to violence from a former partner.8

  • More than two-thirds (68%) of mothers, who had children in their care when they experienced violence from their previous partner said their children had seen or heard the violence.9


What do we mean by violence against women?

Put simply, and using an internationally recognised definition, violence against women is any act of gender based violence that causes or could cause physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of harm or coercion, in public or in private life.12  

As this definition makes clear, violence against women is not only or always physical. It includes psychological, economic, emotional and sexual violence and abuse, and a wide range of controlling, coercive and intimidating behaviours.

In Australia, violence against women is called many different things, including domestic violence, family violence, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The impact of violence against women

Violence against women and their children takes a profound and long-term toll on women and children’s health and wellbeing, on families and communities, and on society as a whole.
Intimate partner violence is the greatest health risk factor for women aged 25-44.15

Domestic or family violence against women is the single largest driver of homelessness for women,16 a common factor in child protection notifications,17 and results in a police call-out on average once every two minutes across the country.18  

The combined health, administration and social welfare costs of violence against women have been estimated to be $21.7 billion a year, with projections suggesting that if no further action is taken to prevent violence against women, costs will accumulate to $323.4 billion over a thirty year period from 2014-15 to 2044-45.19  

Children and young people are also affected by violence against women. Exposure to violence against their mothers or other caregivers causes profound harm to children, with potential impact on attitudes to relationships and violence, as well as behavioural, cognitive and emotional functioning, social development, and – through a process of ‘negative chain effects’ – education and later employment prospects.20

Above all, violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights, and one that Australia has an obligation to prevent under international law.21

What about violence against men?

All violence is wrong, regardless of the sex of the victim or perpetrator. But there are distinct gendered patterns in the perpetration and impact of violence. 

For example, both women and men are more likely to experience violence at the hands of men, with around 95% of all victims of violence in Australia reporting a male perpetrator.22

While men are more likely to experience violence by other men in public places, women are more likely to experience violence from men they know, often in the home.23


The overwhelming majority of acts of domestic violence and sexual assault are perpetrated by men against women, and this violence is likely to have more severe impacts on female than male victims.22 
Recognising the gendered patterns of violence doesn’t negate the experiences of male victims. But it does point to the need for an approach that looks honestly at what the research is telling us, and addresses the gendered dynamics of violence – this is what Our Watch seeks to do.

Our specific mandate is to prevent violence against women and their children, but promoting gender equality and respectful and non-violent relationships benefits the whole community, including men.

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What is a Healthy Relationship
Healthy Relationship

The Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel -

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Positive and respectful relationships – Excerpt from Relationships Australia


Good relationships are good for you and good for your children. It’s never too late to start working on improving your relationships. People in supportive, loving relationships are more likely to feel healthy, happy and satisfied with their lives. They are less likely to have mental or physical health problems or do things that affect their health. People in good relationships help each other practically as well as emotionally. They share the good times and help each other through the tough ones. All relationships have challenging times. Your relationship greatly affects your children as they grow up and become adults. Children will benefit from your efforts to enrich your relationship.


Good relationships

Good relationships involve:

  • respect, honesty and trust

  • love, companionship and shared activities

  • mutual emotional support and intimacy

  • communication

  • agreement about finances, child raising and other matters important to you

  • shared dreams for the future.


Relationships can change

Over time, people change in many ways including their interests, confidence and attitudes.  Relationships can change when:

  • children arrive and as the children go through various developmental stages and eventually leave home

  • there are financial pressures

  • work demands increase and responsibilities change

  • one or both partners retire from work

  • if you stop doing things together.


Some couples also face unexpected changes like:

  • illness

  • disability

  • unemployment

  • addiction problems

  • living apart due to employment or family issues.


All changes bring their own challenges but are easier to cope with if the couple relationship is solid, and they can talk and work their way through the issues that concern them.

What is an Unhealthy Relationship
unhealthy relationship

The Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel -

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Excerpt from DV Connect -

Domestic Violence occurs within all cultures, demographics, socio-economic and age groups; within intimate personal relationships including same sex relationships.

Domestic violence occurs when someone in an intimate relationship uses FEAR to CONTROL their partner on an ongoing basis. Domestic Violence is about the ABUSE of POWER by one person over another person in that relationship. Domestic Violence is GENDER RELATED in nature as it is mainly perpetrated against women and their children by men.


In an effort to gain or maintain POWER and CONTROL and instil FEAR over another person, a wide range of abusive behaviours can be adopted by perpetrators of domestic violence and these include but are not limited to:

Physical abuse -

Can be direct assaults on the body, punching, pushing, causing or threatening personal injury using objects or weapons; assault on children, being denied access to your home, deprivation of sleep or food.

Verbal abuse -

Constant put-downs, ridicule, name calling, humiliation in public or in private, focus of insults around sexuality, body image, intelligence or parenting skills

Social abuse -

Systematically controlling of who you see, who you speak to or receive phone calls from, messages or email from, where you go – even where you live so that you become socially or geographically isolated from other people

Financial abuse -

Refusing you access to money or providing an inadequate ‘allowance’– especially where the money is legally due to you whether via welfare entitlements or your own wages or preventing you from seeking or holding down a job

Damage to

personal property -

Using physical strength or violence to intimidate you by causing or threatening to cause damage to your property or valuables, e.g. kicking walls, throwing things, pulling a door off the hinges or damaging your furniture, car or personal belongings

Psychological -

Behaviour and / or comments and taunts to undermine your sense of self, your personal security or what are likely to impose a sense of vulnerability around your personal safety or mental health and wellbeing. E.g. driving dangerously, threatening or causing, injury to pets, making threats about custody of children or asserting that the no one including the courts would believe your story

Spiritual &  Cultural -

Not allowing you to practise your chosen religion or cultural beliefs, or misusing religious or spiritual traditions to justify physical or other abuse towards you

Stalking -

Constantly worrying or frightening you by following you, watching you, phoning or messaging you and waiting outside your home or workplace

Sexual abuse -

ANY forced or unwanted sexual contact or activity. For more detailed information about Sexual Abuse click here 

Impacts of DFV on Children
Impacts of DFV on Children

Excerpt from the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast

Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence grow up in an environment that is unpredictable, filled with tension and anxiety and dominated by fear. This can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma, similar to that experienced by children who are victims of child abuse. Instead of growing up in an emotionally and physically safe, secure, nurturing and predictable environment, these children are forced to worry about the future; they try to predict when the abuse may happen next and try to protect themselves and their siblings. Often their main objective is getting through each day, so there is little time left for fun, relaxation or planning for the future.  

Emotional and Psychological Trauma

Children living with domestic violence suffer emotional and psychological trauma from the impact of living in a household that is dominated by tension and fear. These children will see their mother threatened, demeaned or physically or sexually assaulted. They will overhear conflict and violence and see the aftermath of the violence such as their mother's injuries and her traumatic response to the violence.  Children also may be used and manipulated by the abuser to hurt their mother.


A report undertaken by the Queensland Domestic Violence Taskforce 1988 stated that 90% of children present in violent homes had witnessed the violence perpetrated against their mother. In research undertaken by the Australian Institute of Criminology 15% of young people surveyed had experienced domestic violence and 32% of young people knew someone who had experienced domestic violence (National Research on Young People's Attitudes and Experiences of Domestic Violence 2000).  Children witnessing the violence inflicted to their mothers often evidence behavioural, somatic or emotional problems similar to those experienced by physically abused children (Jaffe, Wolfe, and Wilson 1990). 


Risk of Physical Injury

Children may be caught in the middle of an assault by accident or because the abuser intends it.  Infants can be injured if being held by their mothers when the abuser strikes out. Children may be hurt if struck by a weapon or a thrown object and older children are frequently assaulted when they intervene to defend or protect their mothers (Hilberman and Munson 1977-78). 


Direct Victim of Physical or Sexual Abuse:

A child may be directly targeted by the perpetrator and suffer physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or serious neglect. It has been more than 2 decades since the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse was identified; men who abuse their partners are also likely to assault their children. The abuse of women who are mothers usually predates the infliction of child abuse (Stark & Flitcraft 1988). At least half of all abusive partners also batter their children (Pagelow 1989). The more severe the abuse of the mother, the worse the child abuse (Bowker, Arbitell, and McFerron 1988).


Daughters are more likely than sons to become victims (Dobash and Dobash 1979). Woman abuse is also the context for sexual abuse of female children. Where the mother is assaulted by the father, daughters are exposed to a risk of sexual abuse 6.5 times greater than girls in non-abusive families (Bowker, Arbitell and McFerron 1988). Where a male is the perpetrator of child abuse, one study demonstrated that there is a 70% chance that any injury to the child will be severe and 80% of child fatalities within the family are attributable to fathers or father surrogates (Bergman, Larsen and Mueller 1986). 


Violence occurring during or after Separation including Child Abduction

There is clear evidence that abusers often increase their use of violence and abuse to stop their partners from leaving, or to force their partners and children to return home following separation. The abuser may attempt to take the children away from their mother to punish the woman for leaving and in some cases, children have even been killed.  The risk to children during and following separation is substantial.  


Children and Young People's reactions to Domestic Violence
  • Self-blame

  • Helplessness

  • Grief

  • Ambivalence

  • Fear

  • Dread

  • Terror 

  • Worry

  • Sadness

  • Helplessness

  • Shame

  • Anger

  • Numbness 

How Domestic Violence impacts on Children
  • Poor concentration

  • Aggression, hyperactivity, disobedience

  • Disturbed sleep, nightmares

  • Withdrawal, low self-esteem

  • Showing no emotion ('spaced out')

  • Always on edge, wary

  • Fantasise about normal home life

  • Pessimism about the future

  • Physical symptoms 

How Domestic Violence impacts on Young People
  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Withdrawal

  • Abuse of parents

  • Take on a caretaker role prematurely, trying to protect their mother

  • Poorly developed communication skills

  • Parent-child conflict

  • Enter marriage or a relationship early to escape the family home

  • Embarrassed about family

  • Shame

  • Poor self-image

  • Eating disorders

  • Low academic achievement

  • Dropping out from school

  • Low self-esteem

  • Staying away from home

  • Leaving home early

  • Running away from home

  • Feeling isolated from others

  • Violent outbursts

  • Participating in dangerous risk-taking behaviours to impress peers

  • Alcohol and substance abuse

  • Difficulty communicating feelings

  • Nightmares

  • Experiencing violence in their own dating relationships

  • Physical injuries when they try to intervene to protect mother

  • Suicide 


The Extent each Child will be Impacted varies depending on:
  • The length of time the child was exposed to the domestic violence

  • The age of the child when the exposure began

  • Whether the child has also experienced child abuse with the domestic violence

  • The presence of additional stressors such as poverty, community violence, parental substance abuse or mental illness and other disruptions in family life

  • Whether the child has a secure attachment to a non-abusing parent or other significant adult

  • Whether the child has a supportive social network

  • Whether the child has strong cultural identity and ethnic pride

  • The child's own positive coping skills and experience of success

  • Family access to health, education, housing, social services and employment 


Often the behavioural and emotional impacts of domestic and family violence will improve when children and their mothers are safe, the violence is no longer occurring, and they receive support and specialist counselling.


Apart from the emotional, physical, social and behavioural damage abuse creates for children, statistics show that domestic violence can also become a learned behaviour. This means that children may grow up to think it is okay to use violence to get what they want, and as adults that it is okay for there to be violence in their relationships.


Video: 1800RESPECT: Domestic and Family Violence – Children’s Safety

Child Safety Information
Child Safety Information

Excerpt from QLD Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women:


Child Safety Services is dedicated to protecting children and young people who have been harmed or are at risk of harm.

It is immaterial how harm to a child or young person is caused. What is important, in terms of whether a child is in need of protection or not, is whether a child or young person:

  • has suffered significant harm, is suffering significant harm, or is at risk of suffering significant harm

  • does not have a parent or carer able and willing to protect the child from harm.

The department's role in protecting children and young people is to:

  • investigate concerns that a child or young person has been harmed or is at risk of significant harm

  • provide ongoing services to children and young people who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing significant harm.


The causes of harm to children and young people are numerous. These can have a detrimental effect on a child or young person's physical or emotional health, development and wellbeing.

When the child's parents are unable or unwilling to protect them, child protection services may be needed. Protecting children at risk of harm requires immediate and serious attention.

Effective protection of children relies on concerned community members reporting their concerns. This needs to occur in a timely way to prevent concerns becoming more serious.

If you have a reason to suspect a child in Queensland is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm or being neglected, contact Child Safety Services and talk to someone about your concerns:

  • During normal business hours - contact the Regional Intake Service.

  • After hours and on weekends - contact the Child Safety After Hours Service Centre on 1800 177 135 or (07) 3235 9999. The service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


For further information please go to this website:


Further Reading:

QLD Department of Communities - Domestic and Family Violence and its relationship to child protection – Practice Paper April 2018:

Common attitudes about Domestic and Family Violence
Common Attitudes

Excerpt from DV Connect:


It’s a family matter and none of my business… Domestic and family violence affects the physical health and emotional wellbeing, the learning capacity and productivity, as well as the ability to earn a living for thousands of women across Queensland every day. For many children growing up in the midst of domestic violence – the physical and emotional impact will last a lifetime…


If she wanted my help, she’d ask for it… Many victims of domestic and family violence feel embarrassed or too ashamed to confide in anyone. They have often lost their confidence and may find it hard to trust anyone – including their family or close friends. They may have had poor experiences with authorities in the past or be worried about what could happen to them and their children. Let her know that you care for her and that you are there if she needs to talk.

She must be doing something to provoke him… Problems occur in most relationships from time to time – but violence or controlling behaviour is never acceptable as a mean to resolve conflict. People have choices as to how they react to challenges, and often you can see this play out when the perpetrators are very selective and can control their behaviour in certain circumstances.

If it’s that bad why doesn’t she just leave… From the outside, it may seem easy to leave, but it is very important for friends and family to try to understand why and just how difficult it actually is…particularly if there are children involved.  Your friend or family member may have lost confidence and be experiencing a range of fears and possibly uncharacteristic traits or beliefs. She may feel isolated and at risk of being ostracised, she may still be hoping ‘that if she does this or that he’ll change’.

She may be facing real financial and emotional hardship if she leaves and will need support. Never underestimate that she may be in real fear for her or her children’s personal safety.  Statistics support the fact that women are at increased risk of physical danger at the time of and immediately following separation.


How can she still care for him… Your friend or family member may still feel she loves him and be holding onto hopes that things will get better, or she may be convinced she has no alternative but to put up with her current situation.

Her partner may not be abusive all of the time, or he may have shown remorse and promised to change. Don’t be critical if she says she still loves her partner, or if she leaves but then returns to the relationship. The most important thing you can do is to listen without judging, respect her decisions and help her with information about support services and to find ways to become stronger and safer.

I know him and he doesn’t seem like he would hurt anyone.​

Many perpetrators of domestic and family violence can be very manipulative and may show no signs of the controlling or violent behaviours they use in their homes, in other relationships or settings. They might be quite charming, the life of a party or quite serious and gentle in social or work situations. This is one of the most difficult things for victims to overcome, as they often fear if they disclose the abuse to other people who know her partner that they won’t believe her. Remember that domestic and family violence occurs in all cultures, in all socio-economic groups and demographics and in all age groups.

Barriers to Leaving an Abusive Relationship
Barriers to Leaving

Excerpt from the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre:


If you are in a domestic violence situation the decision to leave is often a difficult one.  There are many obstacles that can stand in the way of a woman trying to leave an abusive relationship that must first be overcome to achieve safety. Talking about some of these factors with a support worker can help to assist you in overcoming these barriers. Some of the reasons it may be difficult to leave may include: 


Fear for safety

  • Fear of what he will do when he finds out you have left.

  • Fear he will carry out a threat to harm or kill you, your children or others.

  • Fear he will carry out his threat to commit suicide if you leave.

  • Fear you won't be able to take care of yourself and the children alone.


Isolation from others

  • Fear of being alone or that no-one will understand or help you.

  • Fear of being rejected by family and friends.

  • If you are in a same sex relationship, you may fear you will be "outed" or no one will believe you.

Pressures about the children

  • You believe children need two parents and don't want to raise them alone.

  • Fear of being deported or that your children will be taken out of Australia.

  • You believe you cannot give the children the same lifestyle they are accustomed to.

  • Fear your children will be taken from you by a welfare agency or children's services.


Promises from your partner

  • You believe that things will get better.

  • You believe that no one else will love you.

  • You believe others will think you are stupid for staying as long as you have.


Pressures from cultural or religious communities

  • You want to try to keep the family together and live up to your religious commitment to remain with your partner.


Pressure from family and friends to stay

  • You feel ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated and you don't want anyone to know what is happening.


Financial pressures

  • You are financially dependent on your partner for shelter, food and other necessities and you don't know how you would cope alone.


Legal issues

  • You fear you may lose your children in a 'custody' battle.

  • You are worried about going to court and having to tell what has happened. 


Additional Barriers effecting CALD Women

  • Australian visa restrictions

  • Fear for the safety of family overseas

  • Fear of dishonouring the family

  • Limited understanding of their rights in Australia

  • Strong beliefs against divorce/separation

  • Little social or community support

  • Community pressure to stay in the relationship

  • Shame and stigma of separating

  • Self-blame for abusive behaviour

  • Little or no access to money – depending on their visa status

  • Fear of losing children

  • Fear of police and court process

  • Minimal English comprehension

How You Can Support Victims
How you can Support Victims

​Video by 1800RESPECT – How to support a friend experiencing DFV:

You can be a great source of support for women in your community who are experiencing DFV. You may sometimes be the first person they have spoken to about DFV and who may be able to provide them with important information. It is recommended that you use the following model:





It is important to be familiar with some possible signs of DFV which may include but are not limited to:

  • being afraid or anxious of their partner

  • trying to hide bruises (e.g. by wearing long sleeves in summer months, or give unlikely explanations for injuries)

  • having little or no say about how money is spent

  • reducing seeing friends and family and becomes isolated

  • depression, withdrawn/quiet or low confidence

  • partner who frequently accuses them of cheating or continually checks up on them

  • reluctant to leave their children with their partner alone

  • suspecting they are being stalked or followed

  • checks in often with their partner to report where they are and what they're doing

  • receiving frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner

  • partner has a bad temper, highly jealous or possessive

  • has frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”

  • frequently misses work, school, or social occasions, without explanation

If appropriate start a friendly conversation with her checking how she is going  and creating an opportunity for her to seek your support. If during the conversation she discloses DFV you may ask questions that are  sensitive and supportive.  Prior to asking questions  please ensure that the woman is  comfortable to  speak to  you and you are in a private space. Only ask questions that seem appropriate during the conversation such as:

  • Are you afraid of your partner?

  • Do you feel you have freedom in your relationship?

  • Does your partner threaten you or intimidate you?

  • Did your partner hit you or hurt you physically?

  • Do you currently fear for your safety?

  • Did you know that this is considered to be DFV in Australia?

  • Did you know that there are a lot of support services available for you?



Your aim is to support the victim by listening without judgement and provide her with important information about her options.  It is essential that we acknowledge that the woman is the expert on her own life, and we need to respect her wishes and not pressure her to leave her partner before she is ready. Your role is to support her in whatever decision she makes. 

  1. Explain her rights in Australia

  2. Provider her with DFV Information – if it’s safe for her to take home

  3. Ask if she has an emergency contact person who supports her

  4. Assure her of privacy

  5. Do not push her to separate from partner just provide information

  6. Refer to an appropriate service in her area   

Responding Do's and Dont's


  • Do take her somewhere private

  • Do listen to her without judgement

  • Do help her to recognise the abuse

  • Do believe her and validate her experiences

  • Do help her think about her safety

  • Do tell her that it happens to women from all cultures

  • Do encourage her to seek professional support

  • Do explain that in Australia there are laws to protect her


  • Don’t give her advice

  • Don’t judge her

  • Don’t pressure her to give you information if she is hesitant

  • Don’t take over or try to ‘rescue’ her

  • Don’t speak to or confront her partner

  • Don’t pressure her to leave him

  • Don’t speak about her issues with others

Safety Planning

If possible, it is important to discuss safety with the victim and go through a simple safety plan with her, so she is aware of her options in case of emergency.

1800RESPECT Video about Safety Planning:


Here is a good guide for safety planning by the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast:


Interpreting for Women

  • Women have the right to understand and be understood

  • Professional interpreting services are the most appropriate for interpreting

  • If these services are not available volunteers may support the woman by interpreting for her but must maintain confidentiality

  • Free 24 hours free interpreting service TIS Ph 131 450

  • Request a female interpreter

  • Do not use children and family members to interpret

  • Do not sign any form unless they understand



DFV is very complex and there are many safety and other concerns that need to be considered with the woman.  This is the reasons to support her to access one of a number of specialist services on the Gold Coast that support Women experiencing DFV, they include:


The SARA Program:

The Support, Assessment, Referral, Advocacy (SARA) program is the first specialised DFV service for women from a CALD background on the Gold Coast. The highly qualified bilingual workers provide DFV crisis response as well as support and assistance with the following services:

  • confidential support and crisis response

  • telephone & face to face information and counselling

  • safety planning and risk assessment

  • practical support to fill out forms and attend some appointments

  • multicultural women’s group

  • referral to crisis accommodation, immigration advice and income support

  • advocacy

  • court support

  • information about your rights in Australia


For more information please call them on 04 05 06 55 44 or visit:

Nerang Neighbourhood Centre:

  • A hub of free community and youth services (Monday – Friday);

  • Weekly food service ($20.00 boxes)

  • Legal advice

  • Youth employment service

  • Youth support service

  • Emergency relief

  • General counselling

  • Tax return help

  • Specialises in supporting New Zealand citizens living in Australia

  • Also provides advocacy, advice and information

  • Community Connect worker to help, those affected by domestic violence, navigate services and supports to remain independent from violence


Ring:  5578 2457 or email or visit

Domestic Violence Prevention Centre is a not for profit community based organisation providing specialist domestic violence support services. Established in 1992, they provide a wide range of programs to support women and their children affected by domestic and family violence. They also work with men, who perpetrate domestic violence. For more information please call them on 07 5532 9000 or visit:


DV Connect - Phone support is available 24 hours a day for emergency accommodation and can be contacted on 1800 811 811 or visit:


Further Resources and Information:

1800 Respect Video by Rosie Batty:

How to Support a woman experiencing violence:


TED Talk – Why Women Don’t Leave


How to support a woman who is experiencing DFV by the QLD Government


Brochure – How to support Someone Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence


Increasing your safety Brochure by QLD Government


Stop Abuse and Violence – Information for people who use abusive or violent behaviors in relationships

Please Remember: The Woman is the Expert on Her Own Life

How can the community work together to prevent violence against women
community work together

Communities can have a great impact on reducing violence against women.  We all have a role to play and can contribute to positive changes towards a safer future for women and children in our communities. Let’s look at how we can tackle the cause of the Violence:


The Myths About Violence by Our Watch:

Our beliefs and attitudes are shaped by many influences and can be held without conscious thought.  When we unpack the building blocks of our attitudes, we can identify certain myths or false truths on which our attitudes are based.  

Some myths can lead people to minimise or excuse violent behaviour. 

We can identify these commonly held but prejudicial myths and constructively question their influence on our attitudes, behaviours and our relationships. 

Prejudicial myths are dangerous because they influence how we think and feel about violence against  women and their children.

These beliefs and attitudes then influence how we act, when confronted with violent behaviour or how we respond when we hear about violence. 


Here are some common myths and why they are not true:




FACT: "Violence is more common in families and relationships in which men control decision making, and less so in those relationships where women have a greater degree of independence."1

The belief that men and women have different roles or characteristics (whether in relationships or society in general) is known as gender stereotyping. International studies have shown time and again that belief in such stereotypes is one of the most significant predictors of violence. That is, individuals who hold such beliefs are more likely to perpetrate violence against women, and countries where gender stereotyping is more accepted have higher levels of violence against women.

We know that in societies where men and women are more equal in their relationships, and where they are not expected to play different roles based on their sex, violence is less common. Greater equality and more flexible gender roles give everyone more opportunities to develop to their full capacity.




FACT: The most consistent predictor for support of violence by men is their agreement with sexist attitudes.   

Sexist jokes reflect and reinforce sexist attitudes. They excuse and perpetuate the gender stereo- typing and discrimination against women that underpins violence.


If no one  speaks up  when a sexist  comment  or joke is  made, it  sends the  message  that this behaviour  is ok.  It  can be difficult to stand up to someone using sexist language, so we created some strategies that may help.



FACT: Violence against women is about something more than just losing your temper.2
There are no excuses for violent behaviour. Ever.
Violence is caused by an individual’s attitudes towards women, and the social and cultural influences that say violence is ok.




FACT: The most extreme violence, including murder, often occurs when a woman tries to leave a relationship. 
When it is  assumed that a woman, who is a victim of domestic violence stays by choice, blame is taken away from the perpetrator. 
This puts  the responsibility for dealing  with the violence on the victim, who might not be able to le  leave a relationship, because she fears for her life or the safety of her children.




FACT: You can’t legally give consent when you’re intoxicated. The perpetrator is always the only person responsible for sexual violence. 



FACT: Sexual violence is an abuse of power.  Men rape women, because they believe women are possessions, not equals, and that they have a  right to women’s bodies.  Myths like these, place the responsibility on the woman and encourage more victim-blaming.



FACT: Both men and women are more likely to be sexually assaulted, by someone they know than by a stranger. 

According the Australian Bureau of Statistics 15% of all women and 3% of all men aged 18 years and over have been sexually assaulted by a known person. This is in comparison to the 3.8% of all women and 1.6% of all men, who had been sexually assaulted by a stranger.3

The stranger-danger-myth is one of the reasons that women are less likely to report a sexual assault perpetrated by someone they know. They may fear no one will believe them or that they encouraged the perpetrator in some way.

Once this myth is busted, women may be more willing to come forward and report a known attacker.




FACT: False claims of domestic violence or sexual assault are extremely rare.4
80% of women, who experience current partner violence don’t contact the police about the violence.5
The same is true with sexual assault; 80% of women do not report sexual assault to police.6


What Communities Can Do

Doing Nothing Does Harm! We can all do something to reduce disrespect towards women.  Our Watch have a great media campaign providing us with information on what we can do, as individuals and communities.

When you see disrespectful behavior or comments towards women you can:

1. Show It’s Not Ok – Actions can speak louder than words. To show how you feel:

  • Roll your eyes

  • Shake your head

  • Don’t laugh along

  • Sit between he woman and the disrespectful person


2. SUPPORT women and anyone else doing something:

  • Ask if she’s ok

  • Back up others: “what they say”

  • Acknowledge what has happened: “I’m sorry they said that”


3. SPEAK UP to stop disrespect

  • Respond to a sexist joke with “I don’t get it?”

  • Purposely change the topic: “Oook-kaaay, let’s move on?”

  • Gently tease them: “Are you still in the 1950’s?”

  • Ask them to stop: “Mate, can you not? C’mon”



How Do We Prevent Violence  –  Further Information by Our Watch

For Young People:


For Parents and Care Givers:


For Men:


For Women:


Violence Against Women is Preventable – Let’s Change the Story


Change the Story information:


Change the Story Video:


How Sport can help Change the Story:


Other Videos for prevention of DFV

Stop it at the Start:

DV Legal Information
DV Legal information

Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women


Information and Resources by the Community Legal Centers QLD


Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act


Women’s Legal Service QLD - Information Sheets about Domestic Violence, Separation and Children


Domestic Violence Protection Orders – Information by the QLD Government


Domestic Violence Court Process


Videos about the Court Process in QLD


Domestic Violence Legal Information for Applicants:


Women’s Legal Service QLD - Information Sheets about DV, Separation and Children


Domestic Violence Legal Information for Respondents


Family Law, Separation and Divorce


Legal Aid QLD – Information about Family Law and the Family Dispute Resolution Conference:


Child Custody and Parenting Information by the QLD Government


Information about applying for a divorce by the Federal Circuit Court Australia

Important Phone Numbers and Information for Support
Important contact info

In Emergency call 000 for Police, Fire or Ambulance


The SARA Program - Gold Coast Multicultural Domestic and Family Violence support for women 
Ph: 04 05 06 55 44 – Open weekdays from 9am – 5pm or visit  


The Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast

Ph: Ph: 5532 9000 or visit


Brisbane – Immigrant Women’s Support Service

Ph: 07 3846 3490 -  Open weekdays from 9am – 4pm


Logan – 99 Steps Program by Access Community Services

Ph: (07) 3412 8222 -  Open weekdays from 9am – 5pm


Tweed Heads – Momentum Collective  

Ph: 1300 355 305 – 24 hours phone support service, 7 days a week


DV Connect - Emergency Accommodation Support Service, Queensland wide (by phone only)

Ph: 1800 811 811 - 24 hours support service, 7 days a week. You may ask for an interpreter


QLD Men’s DV phone Service – Men’s Line (by phone only)

Ph: 1800 600 636 - Opens 9am – midnight, 7 days a week


Nerang Neighborhood Centre

Ph: 07 5578 2457


QLD Police Information – None emergency Police link

Ph: 131444


1800 Respect - 24 Hour DFV telephone counselling

Ph: 1800 737 732


Department of Human Services & Financial Support


More Publications and Resources


The Purple Book published by The Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast:


Report on Key Issues for Working with Men from Immigrant and Refugee Communities in Preventing Violence Against Women published by White Ribbon:


Tenants QLD DV Toolkit:


Domestic Violence Took Kit published by Lifeline:


Not Now Not Ever - Report Putting an End to DFV in QLD:


QLD Government DFV Information:


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare  - Reports data and statistics about DFV

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