Covid-19 and Family Violence

Across Australia, State and Territory Governments have put in place measures that prevent people from leaving their homes except for certain valid reasons. Currently, these restrictions vary significantly across Australia. While it seems likely that these restrictions may be loosened in the near future, it appears inevitable that we will continue with restrictions in some form for the foreseeable future.

Separating is difficult enough. For people who are experiencing family violence, these restrictions make the separation process all the more difficult.

Naturally, the safety of a separating spouse and the safety of any children and other family members should always be the highest priority.

If you have any immediate concerns about your safety and the safety of any children or Family Members, you should contact the Police (or 000 in an emergency). In Victoria, the Police will continue to act to protect people experiencing family violence in the State.  

A Family Violence Intervention Order may be necessary to ensure that separation occurs safely. An Intervention Order can protect people in a number of ways. In the most serious circumstances, Intervention Orders can remove an abusive partner from the family home and from further contacting the separating spouse or children without a Court Order or written agreement. An Intervention Order can be put in place either:-

  1. By approaching the Police and obtaining their support to apply on your behalf; or
  2. By personally applying for an Intervention Order.

Navigating this process can be incredibly frightening, stressful and confusing.

There are numerous support services who are able to provide invaluable support to people experiencing family violence. Those services can assist people in a range of ways, including implementing a safety plan to enable a spouse to separate. A list of services that may assist is detailed at the end of this article.

It is also important to seek legal advice. Obtaining legal advice enables people to navigate the legal process and understand their legal rights and responsibilities. Lawyers can assist to negotiate and implement short-term or long-term parenting arrangements, any interim financial support and the division of assets.

Family violence support service

There are numerous family violence support services. Some services operate nationally and others cover certain regions.

 A good start is:-

  1. Safe Steps (https://www.safesteps.org.au/); and
  2. 1800 Respect (see link here: https://www.1800respect.org.au/).

Other services include:-

  1. The MensLine (https://mensline.org.au/); and
  2. TheMen'sReferralService  (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/serviceprofiles/mens-referral-service)


Andrew Johnston BA LL.B LP
Accredited Specialist in Family Law
Berry Family Law