Victoria Legal Aid

Other support for violence, abuse and personal safety

Learn where to get legal help and other support for violence, abuse and personal safety.

How we can help

Contact us for free information about family violence intervention orders, personal safety orders, child protection matters and how we can help you.

If we can’t help, we can refer you to other organisations that can.

If you are going to court for a mention hearing, read our self-help guides for applicants or respondents.

Family violence and intervention orders

Emergency help

If you are experiencing family violence and the situation is urgent do not wait, contact the police on 000.

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

Your local community legal centreExternal Link may be able to give you legal information and advice. Some centres also provide advice and representation at court. Most services are free.

The Women's Legal Service VictoriaExternal Link provides free confidential legal information, advice, representation and referral for women.

DjirraExternal Link (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service) helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of family violence and sexual assault. They provide legal and non-legal support, and work with families and communities affected by violence.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. Note this is not 30 minutes of free legal advice but you can use this interview to understand more about your legal issue and discuss the available options and how much they will cost.

Courts

The Family Violence Magistrates' Court of Victoria website can help you find your nearest court to apply for an intervention orderExternal Link .

Many courts have support services that can help you on the day of your hearing. These include lawyers for family violence applicants, respondents, LGBTIQA+ and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with family violence legal need.

Court Network volunteersExternal Link support people at court. They are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice, but they can tell you about how court works. They can also make referrals to other community agencies for support after the hearing.

If you want to see a Court Network volunteer, tell the court staff. You can also ring them before you go to court.

Combined legal and social support services at the Federal Circuit and Family Court

Family Advocacy and Support Services are available at the Melbourne and Dandenong Family Law Registries.

This is for people who are involved in family law proceedings and who have experienced, used or are alleged to have used family violence.

It combines specialist legal advice, risk screening, safety planning, social support and referrals for families affected by family violence. See Family Advocacy and Support Services.

Family violence support services

Family violence services for people who wish to leave, or have left, a violent relationship are available from:

Services for respondents

The Men’s Referral Service/No to ViolenceExternal Link provides referrals and help for men who use controlling behaviour towards a partner or family member, but also provide support and referrals to women and men seeking information on behalf of their male partners, friends or family members.

MenslineExternal Link also helps men who are dealing with family violence.

Other services

Other services that may be able to help you:

Resources for family violence and intervention orders

For people applying for an intervention order

For people responding to an intervention order

See a list of all our free publications and resources.

We also have these videos:

Resources from other organisations

Magistrates' Court

See the Family Violence Magistrates' Court of Victoria websiteExternal Link for applications and more information and videos.

The court also has a virtual tour of the courtroomExternal Link and a video of what happens when you go to court for an intervention order hearing.

St Kilda Community Legal Service

St Kilda Legal Service with the Gender Equity Steering Committee, (including the City of Port Phillip, Stonnington City Council, Women’s Health in the South East and Bentleigh Bayside Community Health) have produced a film for young people to speak up and take action if someone they know is a victim or perpetrator of family violence.

Watch the filmExternal Link .

Eastern Community Legal Centre

Eastern Community Legal Centre have produced Steps 2 SafetyExternal Link , a video explaining the family violence intervention order process in an easy-to-understand way. The video is also available in Arabic, Chin – Hakha, Chinese – Mandarin, Dinka, and Punjabi.

Child protection

How we can help

For some matters, we can provide you with a lawyer to help you run your case. You may be eligible if you are a:

  • child aged 10 or more
  • parent or other person trying to have a child in your care.

Other organisations that can help

Independent Family Advocacy and Support

Independent Family Advocacy and Support (IFAS) provides non-legal advocacy and support to parents and primary carers.

You can contact them for free in Victoria on 1800 849 200 at these times:

  • Monday 9 am to 12 pm
  • Wednesday 1 pm to 4 pm
  • Friday 9 am to 12 pm.

On the phone, they will tell you what services they can offer you.

Aboriginal legal services

If you or your child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, you can choose to access an Aboriginal legal service directly. Or you can ask to be referred to:

Help for young people

Kids Helpline is a free, confidential and anonymous counselling service for young people aged between 5 and 25. You can speak to a counsellor on the phone at any time of the day by calling 1800 551 800.

Visit the Kids Help Line websiteExternal Link if you don't feel comfortable talking to someone over the phone, or if you can't get to a phone. Counselling is also available at certain times of the day, and by email. If you need help urgently, the telephone is the fastest way of getting to a counsellor.

Personal safety intervention orders

Emergency help

If you are experiencing violence and the situation is urgent do not wait, contact the police on ‘000’.

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

Your local community legal centreExternal Link may be able to give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

DjirraExternal Link (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service) helps Aboriginal victims of sexual assault and works with families and communities affected by violence.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. You can use this interview to understand more about the legal issue and discuss the available options and how much they will cost. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice.

Help at court

Many courts have support services that can help you on the day of your hearing. Ask the court staff who can help you. See Magistrates' Court websiteExternal Link for contact details.

Court Network volunteersExternal Link support people at court. They are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice, but they can tell you about how court works. They can also make referrals to other community agencies for support after the hearing.

If you want to see a Court Network volunteer tell the court staff. You can also ring them before you go to court.

Victims of crime

The Victims Support Agency gives practical assistance to help victims recover from the effects of crime through the Victims of Crime websiteExternal Link .

The Victims of Crime HelplineExternal Link is a free service offering information, advice and referrals to help victims to manage and recover from the effects of crime. Helpline staff can also contact other agencies on your behalf so you don't need to repeat your story.

The Victims of Crime Assistance TribunalExternal Link provides financial assistance to victims of violent crime committed in Victoria.

Other services

Other services that may be able to help:

Resources for personal safety intervention orders

These resources will help you understand:
  • assault and sexual assault
  • what your rights are.

You can order or download these free publications:

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

Resources from other organisations

Victims of Crime

The Victims Support Agency gives practical assistance to help victims recover from the effects of crime through the Victims of Crime websiteExternal Link and helpline. This includes people who have experienced sexual assault.

They also have information about support services that can helpExternal Link and a list of publications and fact sheetsExternal Link to support victims of crime.

Centres Against Sexual Assault

The Victorian CASA websiteExternal Link has further information to help people who have been impacted by sexual assault or abuse as adults or children.

Magistrates' Court

The Magistrates' Court has virtual tour of the courtroomExternal Link and a video of what happens when you go to court for an intervention order hearing.

They also have information about personal safety ordersExternal Link , how to apply for them, what happens if you go to court and where you can get help.

WIRE

WIRE's Stalking information bookletExternal Link contains information for women being stalked, explaining the crime of stalking; the different types (including cyberstalking); what to do if you are stalked, and where to get help.

Violent behaviour

How we can help

If you are going to court for a criminal offence, and your court date is more than six days away, you can request help before court.

For some matters, we can provide you with a lawyer to help you run your case.

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

Your local community legal centreExternal Link can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. You can use this interview to understand more about the legal issue and discuss the available options and how much they will cost. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice.

Help at court

Court Network volunteersExternal Link support people at court. They are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice, but they can tell you about how court works. You can ring them before you go to court.

Resources for violent behaviour

These resources will help you understand:

  • criminal offences
  • police powers in Victoria
  • what to do if you go to court for criminal charges.

You can order or download these free publications:

See a list of all our free publications and resources.

We also have a video about police.

Resources from other organisations

Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League websiteExternal Link has information on the main laws and penalties related to the use of illegal drugs. It includes a section on Victorian laws and penalties.

The Agriculture Victoria website has information about:

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 13 May 2022

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