Australia is proud to be a country where people from different cultures are encouraged to identify with their heritage. All women and men in Australia share the same human rights, as well as equality before the law.
In Australia, domestic and family violence is against the law.
Tragically, domestic and family violence occurs across all cultures, races, ages, genders, religions and socio-economic groups. Violence against any person is unacceptable. Domestic and family violence is not your fault, it is never ok and it is not accepted in Australia.
Anyone experiencing domestic and family violence in Australia can get help from support services. You can get help no matter what your visa or immigration status is. It doesn’t matter if the relationship has ended or not—you can still get help.
A partner, family members or other people in the community cannot threaten your visa status.
If you, or someone you know, are experiencing domestic and family violence we are here to help and we encourage you to contact us. We can also arrange for translators if you are not confident speaking English.
Temporary (partner/spousal) visa holders
Some people who have come to Australia on a temporary visa are worried that if they leave their violent partner, they will be forced to return to their home country. This is not the case. Partner visa holders do not have to remain in an abusive relationship to stay in Australia.
If you hold a temporary visa and experience domestic and family violence and your relationship ends, there may still be a pathway to permanent visa. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible.”
Contact the Department of Home Affairs for further information
What is domestic and family violence
Domestic and family violence is when someone intentionally uses violence, threats, force or intimidation to control or manipulate a family member, partner or former partner. It does not have to occur within the home or between people who are living together.
The violence is intentional and systematic and often increases in frequency and severity the longer the relationship goes on. It is about power and control and it is intended to cause fear.
Domestic and family violence can include lots of different types of abuse:
- physical violence: being hit, pushed or spat at
- verbal, emotional and psychological abuse: being called names or being put down, threatening your visa status
- sexual abuse: unwanted sexual advances, forced sex, filming/photographing someone without their consent
- isolation: hindering contact with family and/or friends
- property damage: punching walls, breaking furniture
- financial: hindering employment, not disclosing the financial position of the family
- forced marriage: being forced to marry someone without your consent and under duress (using emotional, financial, physical and sexual threats or abuse).
- tech abuse: receiving threats or being stalked via social media, online or phones and computers, and the use of tracking devices.
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. You might feel you have done something wrong, or something to cause the violence or abuse. This is not true. Violence and abuse is never ok. It is against the law. You might:
- blame yourself for the violence
- feel like you’re walking on egg shells
- jump at every little sound
- feel like you’re waiting for an explosion
- feel you have to ask permission to do anything or spend money
- feel you are threatening your family’s social standing and reputation
- take drugs or alcohol to cope.
Remember these things
If you are worried you, or someone close to you, is being abused please remember:
- Threats, stalking and physical and sexual violence are all illegal in Australia.
- The violent person might blame you, or make you feel responsible, ashamed or guilty.
- You are not to blame for someone else’s actions. What they have done is wrong. It is not your fault and it is against the law.
- A spouse, partner, family members or other people in the community cannot threaten your visa status.
- You can get help no matter what your visa or immigration status is.
- If you hold a temporary partner visa and leave your partner because of domestic and family violence, you are still able to apply for a permanent visa.
- DVCS is here to provide support during and after crisis situations.
- Our supporting someone page contains advice on what you can do to help someone you are worried about.
Need to talk?
If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation please call the police on 000. Police in Australia are safe and can be trusted.
To access our crisis intervention services call our 24/7 crisis telephone line 02 6280 0900. If it isn’t urgent another contact option is to email firstname.lastname@example.org; this email is only monitored during business hours. You are welcome to call us reverse charges. If you live outside the ACT please call 1800RESPECT.
We do not make any sound recordings of our conversations. You do not need to give us your name, but if you do we make notes that we spoke to you. If you are unsure, please let us know at the start of the call and we can tell you about our confidentiality policy.
We can also arrange for translators if you are not confident speaking English.
Links and related information
- 1800 Respect
- Relationships Australia
- Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS): telephone for free on 131 450
- Womens Legal Centre – Migration Practice
- Companion House
- Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services of the ACT
- Legal Aid ACT – Migration Legal Advice
- Fact Sheet—Family Violence Provisions
- Fact Sheet—Family Visa and Partner Visas Fact Sheet