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Services overview

If you have experienced sexual, domestic or family violence it's important to know that support is available.

This page explains the kinds of services available to you, including:

On the other tabs of this section you will find information on support services for money and finance and housing.

What services are available to me?

Australia has many services to support people affected by violence and abuse. These services can help you when dealing with:

Below are descriptions of the kinds of services available to you.

Domestic and family violence

There are many services in Australia that give support to people experiencing or escaping from domestic or family violence.

Support might include things like:

  • Listening to your experience
  • Giving you information
  • Counselling
  • Supporting you with going to the doctor and medical appointments
  • Putting you in touch with the best services for you
  • Helping you work through any financial worries
  • Supporting you in court
  • Helping with things you might find hard to do, like filling out legal forms

Each state and territory offers different types of services. See our Service directory for services in your state. You can also contact 1800RESPECT for a referral on 1800 737 732 or through online chat at the bottom of your screen.

Sexual violence and assault

There are a range of services available to people who have experienced sexual violence and assault. These services include:

  • Counselling
  • Medical support
  • Legal support
  • Childhood sexual abuse support
  • Crisis support

Each state and territory offers different types of services. See our Service directory for services in your state. You can also contact 1800RESPECT for a referral on 1800 737 732 or through online chat at the bottom of your screen.

Advocates for older people and people with disability

What is an advocate?

An advocate is someone who supports you to work out issues or problems. Advocates don’t make decisions for you or tell you what to do. They are there to support your needs. They keep your information private and only release information with your permission.

Why would I need an advocate?

There are different types of advocates for different needs. An advocate can provide extra support for you and help you understand the system. They can explain or help to find out your rights and responsibilities when it comes to legal, health or financial issues. They can help you find the right services to support you. An advocate may also be able to support you by going with you to court, medical or legal appointments, or to the police.

Sometimes the people you would normally rely on for support are violent or abusive and this may be another reason for seeking out an advocate.

Advocates for older people

Throughout Australia there are a range of advocates for older people. The services that provide advocacy for older people are different in each state. For the contact details of advocates in your state, you can visit the It's Your Life website.

Advocates for people with disability

Visit the Department of Social Services website to read about the National Disability Advocacy Program. You can also see our Service Directory for advocacy services in your area.

Services for particular groups

Everyone's experience of sexual assault, domestic and family violence is different. There are a range of services in Australia that can support the particular needs of different groups.

What kind of financial support is available to me?

  • Worries about money and finances are common for people affected by domestic and family violence
  • It is important to know that Australia has many services that can help you with your money and financial problems
  • You do not need to feel trapped in a violent situation because of money or financial worries
  • This page explains some of the services that can help you

Money and finance

Money can be one of the biggest causes of worry and stress for everyone. We understand that when you have experienced sexual assault, domestic and family violence, those worries can be even greater. 

In Australia there are many services that can help you figure out solutions to your financial problems. You do not need to feel trapped in a violent situation because of money or financial worries.

 Below are some of the options for help and support. There are many more listed on the Money Smart website.

I need urgent help with money or finances

If you urgently need help with living expenses there are organisations that can help you with:
  • Rent or accommodation
  • Paying water, gas or electricity bills
  • Food parcels and vouchers for food
  • Vouchers for transport or chemist supplies
  • Clothing
  • Budgeting 

If you need this kind of support, you can:

  • Contact the Department of Social Services on 1300 653 227 and ask to be put through to your local emergency relief service
  • Search our Service directory for emergency relief services near you
  • Contact 1800RESPECT for a referral on 1800 737 732 or through online chat

I need help with debt

If you are worried about money you owe it is a good idea to get some advice. The National Debt Helpline is a free service that can help you tackle your debt problems. It is open from 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday on 1800 007 007.

When you call this number you will be automatically transferred to the phone service in your state (opening hours can differ in different states). Calls from mobile phones may incur a fee from the mobile phone carrier. 

What is the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)?

The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®) offers loans between $300 and $1,200 to people on low incomes. The loan is provided to pay for essential goods and services.

 There are other options for low income earners listed on the No and low interest loans page on the Money Smart website.

I need financial counselling

Financial First Aid is a free financial telephone counselling service. They can provide support and advice for a range of issues, including:
  • Unemployment
  • Legal threats
  • Not being able to pay your bill
  • Loans/debts/credit
  • Family/personal issues
  • Your rights

You can request an appointment or if the situation is urgent, call directly on 1800 639 523.

What kind of housing support is available to me?

  • Having a safe place to live is important to everyone, for people in violent situations it is even more so
  • If you are worried about where you will live or how you will pay your mortgage or rent, there are services that can help
  • You do not need to feel trapped in a violent situation because of worries about where you will live
  • This page explains some of the services that can help you

Housing

There are different types of housing support in all areas of Australia. These include places to stay in an emergency, places for a longer term stay, and support with paying rent and bond.

You can search our Service directory for housing services near you. You can also contact 1800RESPECT for a referral on 1800 737 732 or through online chat.

I need crisis or emergency accommodation

Many organisations provide safe places to stay for people escaping domestic and family violence. These places may also be able to help with:

  • Emotional support
  • Legal support
  • Finding permanent housing
  • Applying for benefits or grants to help with money

If you are in need of emergency accommodation, you can contact 1800RESPECT for a referral on 1800 737 732 or through online chat.

What is transitional housing?

Transitional Housing is short-term accommodation with access to support services. It is a step towards a more permanent living arrangement.

People moving into transitional housing have often experienced a sudden or unexpected change. For example, a lost job has meant the rent can't be paid, a marriage break-up leaves one partner with no money or support, or a person may lose the support of — or can no longer live with — other family members.

The services that offer transitional housing are different in each state. You can contact 1800RESPECT for a referral on 1800 737 732 or through online chat.

I need help paying rent and bond

If you need help paying rent or bond in the longer term, Centrelink may be able to help.