Staying Home Safe

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land in which we live and work, and pay respect to ancestors, elders both past, present and the emerging jarjums. Momentum Collective is committed to an inclusive and positive future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people(s).




Crisis numbers

If you are in danger, call Police on 000 (or TTY 106). If you do not have a safe place to stay, call NSW Link2Home  1800 656 463 (available 24/7) If you are in a violent or abusive relationship and you need someone to talk to or referral to local services, call  National 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 (24/7)







 NSW DVLine 1800 656 463 (24/7)  Rape Crisis Line 1800 424 017 (24/7)





For assistance to communicate  Translating and Interpreting Services 13 14 50  TTY 1800 67 14 42



*TTY numbers assist people who are deaf or speech impaired to message for support









Published by Third Sector Australia trading as Momentum Collective PO Box 793, Coolangatta Qld 4225





Copyright©2020 Momentum Collective All Rights Reserved. This booklet has been published for FREE distribution only and NOT for sale. Designed by Studio Empress.






It is focused on you staying in your own home, or moving to a home of your choice, after the abusive person has left. It is developed with the Staying Home Leaving Violence program, which aims to prevent you and your children from becoming homeless or having to move away from your support system of family and friends, and community where you live. We acknowledge that survivors of domestic abuse include people of all ages, cultures, and identities. Please use this information in the way that is best for your situation, to be safe, protected and supported. Throughout the booklet and last pages are contact details for you to find support for your safety plan or if you feel confronted or upset by any of the content. This book is written to help you stay safe in your home and community after leaving domestic and family violence.

This booklet refers to AVO’s. Some people choose to apply

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a court order that aims to protect a person from another person that causes them to fear for their safety. An AVO can protect a person from: violence or threats of violence, stalking, intimidation, and harassment. An AVO can also protect property that has been damaged or threatened with damage. An AVO is sometimes called an Intervention Order, Restraining Order, Protection Order, Domestic Violence Order or Family Violence Order. There are two types of Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs): - Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) that protect a person from domestic violence, for example by a spouse, ex-partner, or parent. - Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs) that protect a person from violence by anyone else, for example a neighbour, co-worker, or friend. If a defendant does anything that an AVO says they can't do, they are in breach of the AVO. Breaching a AVO is a criminal offence and if a defendant is found guilty of breaching it, they can be fined or sent to prison.

for an AVO. LawAccess describes an AVO:

We also have three short videos about Staying Home Safe at

About Momentum Collective

Momentum Collective is a community collective creating real social change and inclusive opportunities. Our vision is empowered people, connected communities, and our purpose is to help people get a roof, a job, live a better life and engage with the community. Please see for more information about the community programs we operate. Momentum Collective wish to thank the many workers in the field who supported the development of the Staying Home Safe booklet.

© State of New South Wales (Department of Communities and Justice), LawAccess 2020




Outside the home

 Install sensor lights around your home so you will be alerted if someone is outside.  Lay gravel around the house so footsteps can be heard.  Ensure your property number is clearly visible day and night (so emergency services can find it easily).  Trim trees and shrubs to reduce hiding places and make it easy to see the street.  Secure your garage and garden shed with locks.  Keep wheelie bins in locked rear yard, or chain and lock them away from windows.  Lock away loose or heavy items and ladders when not in use.  Consider fitting your letterbox with a lock to restrict access to mail. You can also use a private post office box, so that your home address is not listed with services. (Australia Post offers free mailboxes - see Online Safety.)  The power board should be housed within a box to restrict tampering with the power supply. The box can be secured with a lock set approved by your electricity provider.  Guard against easy access to the rear yard with a fence or locked gate. NSW Federation of Housing Associations Inc and Q Shelter. (2017)

It’s important to make your home very secure, after you have left an abusive relationship.

Here is a list of security checks. Please seek specialist support with this home audit and ask for help with safety upgrade costs. In the home  Change the locks (often changing the barrels is a less expensive option). If renting, check the housing support section in this booklet.  Install security screen doors and always use a key to lock them. Darkened screening is also effective.  Always check who is at the front door before you open it.  Install and use a door peephole or video camera.  Keep keys out of view, in new storage spots, remove keys from doors and windows.  Where there is a security screen door, install perspex around the door handle.   Ensure windows are secure, with locks or dowel rods/sticks. If ventilation is required, lock it in a partially open position.   Ensure your home has smoke alarms installed and are working.  Install a solid door with a lock or security chain to an interior room where you have access to a phone. You can go to this room in an emergency, call the police and wait for them to arrive.  Install a security system with alarms, a camera, or movement sensors.  S ecure sky lights and manholes.



Choose a special place where you can relax.


 If you feel comfortable, inform your neighbours that you are separated, and whether or not you have an ADVO that prohibits the abusive person from coming near or entering your home. Ask them to call the police if they see the person, or if they hear a disturbance at your home.  Ask for your neighbour’s phone number in case of emergency.  Arrange a code word with your family or friends. If you are in danger, and it is not safe for you to call the police directly, you may be able to call or text a friend. Use the code word to let them know that you are unsafe and that they should call the police.  Ask a trusted person to keep a copy of your important documents for safe-keeping.


 Carry your mobile phone, charged and switched on at all times.  Be confident about how to call emergency services quickly: save the police/help numbers in your speed dial.  Use your mobile caller ID (or answering machine) to screen calls.  Save text/voice messages from the abusive person as these can be used as evidence.  Change your phone number(s) and make them silent numbers.  Purchase a pre-paid emergency mobile phone.  If you are at high risk, ask a specialist service for a personal alarm which you can wear at all times.

Contacts for Home Security Support

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services NSW Police

131 444

Domestic Violence Line NSW

For counselling and referral to a local service 1800 65 64 63 (24/7) Translating and Interpreting Service 13 14 50 TTY 1800 67 14 42 support/programs/staying-home-leaving-violence

Staying Home Leaving Violence (in some areas in NSW)



Expressing yourself creatively can be healing: e.g., painting, art, singing, dancing, and writing.


 Have someone you can talk to that you know will be confidential. Do you have an aunty, sister or worker you can trust?  If you feel safe to, let family and friends know that you are in a Domestic or Family Violence situation and whether or not you have an ADVO.  Ask trusted family and friends to visit you daily, if needed, and go with you to see mob or sorry business if you feel unsafe and want to attend.  If possible, don’t go to places where you feel unsafe from your abuser or family.

 Have your phone and essential things in a bag so you can be ready to leave if necessary.  Plan a safe place you can go if you are in danger and how you can get there.  Arrange a code word with your trusted family or friends, which lets them know that you are unsafe and that they should get help.  Reach out to a support service for help. Request an Aboriginal support worker if it helps you feel more comfortable and safe to share your story.

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services L ne - Victim’s Services Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre NSW

1800 019 123 Provides support to victims of crime with financial and counselling support

1800 686 587

Aboriginal Legal Services

1800 765 767 police charges, court matters. 1800 733 233 care, protection, family matters Northern Rivers Freecall: 1800 633 637 , for sista girls and brother boys


Artwork donated by Tammy Johnson. The painting story: The blue circles represent family and community. The red reflects anger and suffering. The blue shapes represent the continued pain and damage to our families and communities, and the long healing process. The bright circle in the middle of the painting represents a meeting place; somewhere you can go to feel safe, whether it is on country, in community or with family and friends.



Being safe at work and at your place of study is important to ensure you are not disadvantaged to continue your employment or education after leaving violence. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself safe.

Your work/study safety plan

 Ask your employer to remove your contact information from name plates and directories that the public can see (in the building and on-line).  Ask your supervisor to be flexible and consider changes to your work site, shifts, schedule and/or department.  If you work in a place that visitors can easily see, ask to work somewhere else. Ask to be moved away from the front reception or any windows that people can look in.  Make a code word so your work or study mates know to call for help on your behalf.  Familiarise yourself with duress procedures: learn where help phones

 If you have an ADVO, make sure it includes the work/study place.  Keep a record of all incidents and how the abusive behaviour affects you, your work and your workplace.  Complete a workplace/campus incident report, each time if you are threatened.  Give security or reception a recent photo or description of your abuser to recognise if they come on site.  Ask a co-worker or your supervisor to screen your calls. Agree on how to handle a call from the abuser.  Ask for a new phone number.  Block e-mail from your abuser.  Check that your listed emergency contacts are up to date.

If you feel comfortable, tell your employer/education supervisor about your situation and let them know you may need support to stay safe. If you can’t talk to your direct employer/supervisor, find another staff member you can trust and ask them to support you. Create a safety plan with your manager/supervisor/trusted person. Discuss what help and protection they can provide in case your abuser comes to, or contacts, your work or study place, such as:  what will help you be safer, less stressed and more supported at work/study?

 what leave provisions are available. All employees are entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year of their employment. You can take this leave to make arrangements for your (or for a close relative’s) safety to move house, attend court hearings, or talk with police. You can also apply for sick leave, carer’s leave, annual leave and flexible working/ study arrangements.

or emergency buttons are. © Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children. Make it Our Business, 2020

© Fair Work Ombudsman

Fair Work Ombudsman violence-leave

 what supports or extensions you may need to complete your work or study if you are not feeling emotionally well.




Cuddling and playing with your pets is one way to help you feel good

 Change your routine: take a different route or park in different places if it is safe to do so.  Ask for a well-lit, safer parking spot near your work/ study place, preferably monitored by a camera.  Keep your car locked at all times.  Tint the windows on your car.  Arrange a work/study mate or security person to walk you to your car/transport.  Carry a loud whistle under your clothes.  Learn where emergency phones are on campus, and how to call for help.  Call or text ahead to let colleagues and home know your expected times of arrival. Make a plan with them if you don’t arrive.  Give your supervisor the number of a trusted person they can call if you don’t turn up and they can’t contact you.  Look for tampering or tracking devices that may be attached on or underneath your car.


We love our pets and want to protect them. If you are concerned for your pet’s safety, here are a few suggestions for safety planning with pets.

If you have your pets living with you:  Keep pets indoors (if possible).  Avoid leaving pets outside alone.  Pick a safe route and time to walk pets.  Don’t exercise or walk pets alone.  Change your veterinarian.

National Domestic Violence Hotline, 2014

If you can’t look after your pets for a while, here are some options:  Ask family or friends to have pets at their place.

 Ask RSPCA NSW to look after your pet through their Domestic Violence Program. They can arrange foster accommodation and/or emergency pet boarding, financial assistance for vet treatment, impound fees or transport fees.  Book your pet into a kennel.  Ask your vet about who may be able to foster your pets.

“Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.” ~ Michelle Rosenthall​

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services RSPCA Domestic olence P ogram

02 9782 4408 weekdays or 02 9770 7555 on weekends and public holidays




Safety planning with your kids

program (see your local services).  Train children in age-appropriate safety precautions such as keeping doors and windows locked at all times (see the Home Safety chapter in this book).  If your child has a mobile phone or any online accounts, discuss online safety with them (see the Online Safety chapter in this book).

A safety plan should include ways that your children can stay safe if violence occurs. Safety planning with your kids can be difficult depending on their age, maturity, and willingness. Please seek help from specialist child and family services if you need to. Find a calm time to talk through plans with your kids  Ask your child what they do to make them feel safe when they are scared and support them to do those things if they need to. For example, a place to go to when they’re afraid.  Teach your children when and how to call emergency service ‘000’.  Practice your home address with them so they remember. (You can write it on a card next to the phone.)  Practice with them about where to go if there is danger: for example, a neighbour’s house.  Choose a code word that you can say when your children need to leave the home in case of an emergency.  Teach the children that although they want to protect their parent, it is very important that they never intervene.  Help children to make a list of safe people that they can talk to.  Older children may need to choose the people that know about their personal information, so support them to feel in control if needed.  Enroll them in a counselling

The safety of children after leaving a violent relationship is vital. Take precautions to make sure your kids have safe arrangements. Make a plan with your kids so they can protect themselves.

School/Child Care/Sport Coaches and Other Carers It is important that other people who may be caring for your child understand your circumstances and for a safety plan to be made with them.  Put in writing who has authorisation to pick up your child. Provide a copy of your family court orders or ADVO so they can call the police if the abuser attempts to pick up your child.  Provide the carers with a photograph of the abusive person.  Let the school know you don’t want pictures of your

 Request the school/carer to alert appropriate staff about the situation: such as school

counsellor, receptionist, teachers and principal,

Planning for kids visiting their other parent/carer

sports coaches, after school activity providers or other caretakers.  Remind your child to stay with their teacher/coach on duty and wait together for their transport (bus or authorised person picking them up).  Ask the teacher/coach on duty to meet the bus or car on arrival and walk your child to their class or activity if you are unable to take them.

If you are concerned for your children’s safety when they visit their other parent/carer, develop a safety plan for while they are at another home.  Brainstorm with your children to come up with ways that they can stay safe using the same model as you would for your own home. Have them identify where they can get to a phone, how they can leave the house, and who they can go to.  If it’s safe to do so, give the children a mobile phone, that can be used to call emergency services or a safe person.  T he other parent may ask the child about what you do, where you work or other family activities. Help your child practice saying things to the other parent that aren’t giving away too much information about you.

children shared on line. School needs consent to post a child’s picture.




Plan a fun or relaxing activity before and after children exchanges

to keep yourself emotionally safe

It is important to take precautions about your (and your children’s) personal information on the web, email and other records.

Planning for Safe Child Handovers

to see what comes up and ask to have your personal information protected/ removed.  Think of other places your contact details may be listed and make your details silent. These could include: - changing your electoral enrolment to 'silent elector’. You can apply to have your address taken off the electoral roll by going to the Australian Electoral Commission website. - pet registration: contact the local council to ask that they don’t pass on your contact information.  Apply to Australia Post for free 12-month mail redirection or Post Office Box. You will need proof of identity and documentation from police, agency or an intervention order.

 Change all your passwords/ passcodes/pins on all your devices so no one else can open them. Choose a strong password that no one could figure out and keep it private.  Remove your abuser’s details as your emergency contact where needed, such as work/study/sport groups  Make a list of all your accounts such as utilities, mygov, Centrelink, bank accounts, doctors, insurances and work through the list: - Make sure only you can access these accounts (make new ones if necessary). - Remove your abuser’s permissions to receive or give information on the accounts. - Remove as much of your personal information from the internet as you can. Do a web search for your name, phone number, address

 Avoid exchanging custody at your home or your ex-partner’s home.  Meet in a safe, public place, for example a police station, or another area where there are people and cameras.  Bring a friend or relative with you to the exchanges, or have them make the exchange.  If you plan for the other parent/carer to pick the children up from school, or activities, make sure you tell the school when this is happening.

National Domestic Violence Hotline, 2013

Children’s Safety Contact details

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Kids Help Line

1800 55 1800 kids from 5 to 25 years old can call for counselling 1300 1300 52 Support to respond to your child’s behaviour; improving family relationships & wellbeing

Parent Line NSW

Reach Out online chat support for young people

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Headspace mental health support for young people

Bursting the Bubble information for teenagers about domestic violence



Turn off Location Tracking, GPS and Bluetooth  Mobile phones and social media apps have tracking devices that can tell someone where you are, including on the photos you take. Make sure that location tracking in your device settings is turned off. (You may need to web search how to do this for each app and on your device.) Avoid Spyware  Mobile phones (and other devices) may have spyware installed. If you suspect this, get a new phone. Do not reinstall the new phone from a backup, as this may install the spyware from the old phone.  Update your software as these contain security updates.  Install anti-virus protection on all your devices. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other accounts)  Be careful about what you post! Don’t mention or show photos of where you are or where you are going.  Consider deleting your account. You can deactivate your account, but all of your information will be saved internally. To avoid this, you can permanently delete your profile (and set up another one in another name).  Tagging: change settings to prevent tagging and ask friends not to tag you or your children in any posts.

To avoid being contacted  Block the abuser’s details from your devices such as phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts. If you need to be in contact with your abuser  Contact them through a person you trust, such as a family member or a service provider.  Make a separate email address for communications with the abuser.  Make sure not to open attachments from them in emails or messages, as these may contain spyware.  Make your number private through your device settings or call from another phone. Save old abusive messages for legal evidence  Print, save or record previous emails, texts, phone or other messages if they are abusive, numerous or threatening so that they can be used as evidence in court. To be able to prove that the abuser sent these messages, you need to print out the messages with the “header” which shows the account information of the sender, or take screen shots of social media, as posts can be deleted by the sender.  Provide these to the police, courts, or a trusted worker or friend to keep them safe. Remember that once you give them safely to someone else, you no longer need to keep that record if it harms your emotional wellbeing.

Online safety contact details

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services WESNET

Women’s Technology Safety and Privacy Toolkit: online-and-technology detailed information on esafety for all the family

Department of Communities & Justice e Safety Commissioner NSW

Australia Post – free mail boxes or mail redirection redirect-hold-mail/redirect-mail/free-mail-redirection- and-po-boxes

Other useful Apps

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Daisy to connect women to support near them for women with disability who have experienced violence or abuse free app that enables women to track details of abusive behavior (be aware of your safety: who can access your phone)


Arc App

Recognise your strength in coming this far




Reach out for help Please see below for mental health support if you are struggling emotionally.

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Lifeline - ph e cris s support

13 11 14

Survivors of abuse can experience changes to their mental health, even after leaving an abusive relationship. These may include anxiety, isolation, irritability, intrusive thoughts, shame, depression, or negative self-image. It can be helpful to know that traumatic events affect people in all kinds of ways and there is nothing wrong with you if you find yourself struggling to heal.

releases dopamine, a chemical related to the brain’s pleasure centres, which increases self-esteem. Whether it’s writing, painting, playing music or craft, it’s important to release the trauma in ways that engage our mind and body.

Mental Health Access Line

1300 224 636 or chat online (includes relaxation tips) 1800 011 511 (24/7) to connect with local Mental Health services and-trauma-survivors/ (USA-based) emotional-safety-plan-in-4-steps tional-and-psychological-trauma.htm

Beyond Blue – mental health support

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Webl nks for self are

© National Domestic Violence Hotline (2019)

Keep healthy habits: It’s easier to cope if you eat well, sleep well and avoid drugs and alcohol. Calm yourself: Find out what regulates your nervous-system: eg music, patting a pet, breathing and mindfulness (apps available). Connect with others : Try to see people if possible. Catch up with people you know or old contacts, or attend support groups or activities.

Some recovery tips:

Self Care Plan Fill in how you can take care of yourself.

Move your body: It’s important to find a physical outlet for intense emotions. Do something that you’re passionate about and love to do: e.g. dancing, home work-out, sport. Be creative: Any repetitive action (sewing, gardening, yoga, drawing, etc.)




It’s important to be in control of your money to achieve independence. To control your money and keep your finances safe, consider these tips.

Financial and Budgeting Help Contacts

Secure bank account Make sure you have a bank account that only you can access. Talk to your bank to organise this if needed. To ensure that you are receiving your own income into your bank account, talk to a Centrelink social worker, or your employer. Financial Counselling If you feel overwhelmed by debt, contact a financial counsellor, as soon as you can. Financial counselling is a free and confidential service offered by community organisations, community

 bills or fines you're struggling to pay  being harassed by debt collectors  gas, electricity or phone disconnection  being evicted from your house  car accidents with no insurance  tax debts Needing Financial Support? Contact support services and your bank, who may help with many financial needs such as:  support for rental or mortgage payments (see Housing chapter)  e mergency relief including food, clothing, sanitary items  crisis accommodation  property safety upgrades   moving or maintaining a tenancy © Australian Securities & Investments

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Centrelink

132 850 to claim for Crisis Payment, or online (other languages 131 202). Hearing or speech impairment 1800 810 586 (TTY phone required). selling 1300 371 288 financial-assistance/ A financial empowerment mobile phone app for women experiencing domestic and family violence 1800 007 007 Free and confidential advice from pro- fessional financial counsellors

Financial Counsellors Moneysmart

Salvation Army – Emergency Relief

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Penda App

National Debt Helpline

Mortgage Stress Handbook, Legal Aid

Free Food or Food Banks

search for food on or

legal centres and some government agencies. Financial counsellors are


skilled professionals. They will listen to your problems and help you with things like:

See next page an example of a fortnightly budget to keep track of your expenses. You can copy this and reuse it, or find another budget style that suits your needs. Mobile apps can also be another great way of tracking your expenditure, on the go, on your smart phone.

I control my spending and can balance my budget.

Commission. Reproduced with permission. Moneysmart (n.d.)




Fortnightly Budget


$ Amount


Wage Centrelink Payments Child Support / Other Total income: Expenses Regular costs Rent or Mortgage & Rates Electricity/Gas Water Fuel/Car/Transport Phone (s) & Internet Insurance - Car Insurance - House/Health Food

You have a right to be protected from violence. Having to tell your story for legal processes can be stressful, so please use support services to help.

Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) If you are worried about the abusive person contacting or approaching you, you may wish to apply for an ADVO, or an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order, which is a type of court order, from your local Police Station. To obtain an ADVO you will need to make an application at your local Magistrates’ Court. This is a legal hearing. You may be required to tell the magistrate what has happened and, in some cases, present any other evidence you have. The best way to prepare for a legal hearing is to seek legal advice. A Women’s Court Advocacy Service or a lawyer can explain how the process works, what evidence there is and what your options are. Once the ADVO is made and given to the abusive person, the police have the power to arrest, detain, or charge them if they break its conditions. An application for an ADVO can be made by: - a police officer on your behalf - you personally through the Local Court

You will need to provide as much of the following information as you can:  the full name, address, date of birth (if known) of the person you want protection from  the names of anyone else you want protected by the order, such as: children, other family members who have lived with, or are living with you  all places you want your abuser to stay away from (places where you or your children attend)  details of the incidents that are causing you to fear the defendant, including the most recent incident  details of any reports or statements made to the police, including any event numbers  details of any medical reports or treatment by a doctor or hospital relating to any injuries caused by the defendant  evidence of any damage to property (for example photos)  the defendant’s history of violence, use of alcohol or other drugs, or access to weapons  information about any mental health issues  other court orders that have been made in the past to protect you from the defendant © State of New South Wales (Department of Communities and Justice), LawAccess NSW, 2020

Loan / Debt Credit Card

Medical Savings Eating out Entertainment School Expenses Other Total Expenses: Income - Expenses:

Source:© Relationships Australia (2007)



Breaches of AVO and incidents - Always call the police if there is a breach of your ADVO. -  Keep a diary of any contact with the abusive person. Record anything that made you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Write down the details of any conversation and any threatening or intimidating statements. This will be very helpful if you have to go to court. There’s a form on the next page to write them down. -  As you might have to repeat your story several times, write a timeline of the relationship. A case worker can assist with this.

NSW Legal Contact details:

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Women’s Domestic olence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS)

1800 938 227 or 1800 WDVCAS Provides women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence with information, advocacy and referrals search for locations 1800 765 767 for police charges and court matters 1800 733 233 for care, protection and family matters 1300 888 529 A free telephone service that provides legal information, referrals and in some cases, advice for people who have a legal problem in NSW.

Aboriginal Legal Services

LawAccess NSW

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Women's Legal Services NSW

1800 810 784 Domestic Violence Legal Service

For calming: apps such as mindfulness, breathing, or yoga exercises can help.



Changing the locks

Being placed on a tenancy ‘blacklist’

If you have an ADVO that stops the perpetrator of violence from living in the property, you can change the locks, but you need to provide copies of the keys to the landlord within seven days, unless the ADVO is against the landlord.

Your landlord or real estate agent cannot blacklist you by putting your name on a bad tenant database if you have ended your tenancy by giving a Domestic Violence Termination Notice.

There are safe places to stay and ways to prevent you (and your children) becoming homeless. Please reach out for help for through the contacts below.

Ending a tenancy because of domestic violence

Have You Already Left the Property?

Temporary Accommodation and Refuges

- If you have an interim ADVO, then you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to end the perpetrator’s tenancy. The tenancy simply transfers to any remaining co-tenant(s) named on the agreement. A remaining occupant who is not named on the agreement can ask the landlord or agent to have the agreement put in their name.

You can end your tenancy immediately, without penalty, if you (or your dependent child) is experiencing domestic violence. To do so, you will need to give:  the landlord, or the landlord’s agent, a domestic violence termination notice (available from the NSW Fair Trading website) and attach one of these for evidence: - certificate of conviction for the domestic violence offence - family law injunction - provisional, interim or final Domestic Violence Order (DVO) - declaration made by a medical practitioner (e.g. GP) in the prescribed form.  each co-tenant a domestic violence termination notice. You do not need to attach the above evidence to the notice you give to the other co-tenants. You can give notice without seeing the abuser: for example, by leaving the notice addressed to the abuser in their letterbox or mailing it. © State of New South Wales (NSW Fair Trading) For current information and required forms go to

You can still end your lease in circumstances of domestic violence even after you have left the property. However, your name will stay on the lease and you will be responsible for the rent up until you give the Domestic Violence Termination Notice to your landlord and any other co-tenants. Damage to the property You will not be responsible for damage to your rental property if you can show it was caused by a perpetrator of violence during a domestic violence offence. You should write down when and how the damage was caused and take a photo of the damage, and ask police for the police event number for the reported damage. You will need this information to provide to your landlord or real estate agent.

Temporary or crisis accommodation can be

provided if you are escaping domestic and family violence through women and children’s refuges or safe accommodation providers. Refuges may support you with accommodation, meals, transport, case management, advocacy, and referral to personally identified needs such as counselling, legal, housing and health services. If you want to stay in your rented house, and the abusive person is a co- tenant: - If a final ADVO is granted that excludes the perpetrator from accessing the property, then the perpetrator’s co- tenancy will automatically end.

If the landlord or agent refuses, the remaining

occupant may apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order to be recognised as a tenant under the original agreement.

"I didn’t realise my strength until I had to do it. It is incredibly empowering" ~ Survivor

Women's Legal Service NSW (2019)



The Bond The bond needs to be returned to the person who has left the property as soon as the lease arrangements have changed. If it is not, then there is limited time to claim it. It may have to be claimed through the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Social Housing The same options are available if you live in social housing. You can contact your social housing provider to discuss what options they can provide. Financial Support for Housing If you need financial support to maintain your existing tenancy, or establish a new tenancy, you may be able to access government and non- government subsidies and loans for the following:

NSW Housing Contacts

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Link2Home

1800 152 152 (24/7) Statewide homelessness line - call if you have nowhere safe to stay for the night to receive information and referral to Specialist Homelessness Services 1800 656 463 (24/7) Help with police, hospital, AVO, safety planning, local referrals and emergency accommodation 132 111 To report children under 16 years old who have nowhere safe to stay for the night Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Ser- vices provide free, independent information, advice and advocacy to tenants throughout NSW 1800 422 322 Access to private rental subsidies and loans such as Start Safely and Rental Bond Loan 13 32 20 Information for tenants, landlords and agents on renting

Domestic Violence Line NSW

Child Protection Helpline

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Tenants Advice nd Advocacy Service

DCJ Housing Services

Department of Fair Trading

- Rent - Bond - Moving and furniture - Rent arrears - Property damage - Property safety upgrade

Remember to keep physically active: this helps you to be emotionally positive. Dance, learn juggling, skip, online classes, home-gym, anything!

You can speak to your local DCJ Housing, Specialist Homelessness Service, or Staying Home Leaving Violence service to enquire about specific housing support and financial assistance. You may need support through this process, so please see contacts for details.




Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services CON Northern Rivers

Freecall: 1800 633 637 for LGBTQ in NSW

Another Closet Information for same sex relationships & LGBTIQ people

NSW Elder Abuse

helpline & resource unit 1800 628 221

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Immigration Advice and Rights Centre Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Translating a d Interpreting S rvice (TIS)

02 8234 0700

131 450 This free service covers more than 150 languages.

1800 RESPECT Accessibility access for people with disabilities, with Auslan video

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services National Relay Service (for hearing-impaired and deaf people)

Voice Relay number - 1300 555 727 TTY number - 133 677 SMS relay number - 0423 677 767

Men’s Referral Service

1300 766 491 family violence telephone counselling for men


Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Human Services Ne work: HSN t to find out where a wide range of local services are in NSW.

Ask Izzy Help and information for a range of services






Hospitals, Northern NSW Local Health District

02 6624 0200 Lismore 02 6620 6400 Ballina 07 5506 7000 Tweed 02 6662 2111 Casino 02 6640 2222 Grafton 02 6639 9400 Byron



Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Spec alist H melessness Service , Northern NSW

Momentum Collective 1300 355 305 (24/7) Northern NSW

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Commu ity Leg l Centre

02 6621 1044 Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCAS) assisting women at local courts dealing with ADVO's and associated domestic violence issues. 02 6621 2082 Provides advice, casework, advocacy & representation in mediations and court. Cover all aspects of family law including children issues, property settlements and child support

Women Up North 02 6621 7730 (24/7) Lismore & Surrounds

Clarence DFV Services 02 6642 4955 (24/7) Clarence Valley

Legal Aid Office

- Northern NSW Women & Children Refuges - Housing support for women experiencing

domestic and family violence - Aboriginal Women’s service

Police Stations

02 6681 8699 Ballina 07 5506 9499 Tweed 02 6626 0799 Lismore 02 6662 0099 Casino 02 6642 0222 Grafton

- After-hour domestic violence crisis service for support, accommodation, food, and transport

Staying Home Leaving Violence

Support after leaving an abusive relationship, with safety planning, home security, managing finances, children and legal process


Momentum Collective 02 6662 2898 Richmond Valley

Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Inte relate - Family Service & Children Contact Service

1300 473 528 in Lismore, Ballina, Casino, Mullumbimby, Sth Tweed Heads

Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre 02 6684 42 99 Tweed, Byron and Clarence Valley

Men and Family Centre

Lismore: 02 6622 6116 Tweed: 0422 195 003 Support for women whose (ex-)partners are in men’s behaviour change program. 1800 338 774 Assists you in accessing relevant support services for your family depending on the situation.

Housing Services, NSW Department of Communities & Justice

02 6623 2424 Provides a range of housing solutions for both the private rental market and Public Housing

Far North Coast Family Referral Service


Aboriginal Contact Line - Victim’s Services Momentum Colle tive

1300 355 305 (24/7) Tweed Women & Children Refuge Lismore Women & Children Refuge Ballina Women & Children Refuge


Northern Rivers Community Gateway

02 6621 7397 Financial Support Services

Clarence River Domestic and Family Violence Spe-cialist Services

(02) 6642 4955 (24/7) Grafton Women & Children Refuge


132 850 Speak to a social worker to discuss a crisis payment or other assistance

Victims Services

1800 633 063 Victims Access Line 1800 019 123 Aboriginal Contact Line

Women Up North

(02) 6621 5187 (24/7) Lismore Bugalma Bihyn Aboriginal Women’s Refuge




Australian Government. (n.d.). Moneysmart website. managing-debt/financial-counselling Fair Work Australia. (n.d.). Taking Family and Domestic Violence Leave. https:// domestic-violence-leave LawAccess NSW. (2018). Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.lawaccess.nsw. LawAccess NSW. (2020). Applying for an AVO. Pages/representing/lawassist_avo/lawassist_gettingavo_home/lawassist_applying_ avo/lawassist_apply_avo_police.aspx LawAccess NSW. (n.d.). Apprehended Violence Orders. https://www.lawaccess.nsw. Make it Our Business. (2020). I need safety and support at work. http:// Moneysmart, Australian Government. (n.d.). managing-debt/financial-counselling National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2013). Safety Planning with Children. https:// National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2015). Emotional Safety Planning. https:// National Domestic Violence Hotline (2019). Healing through the Arts. https://www. National Domestic Violence Hotline USA. (2014). Keeping Your Pets Safe. https:// NSW Fair Trading. (n.d.). Domestic Violence in a Rented Property. https://www. violence-in-a-rented-property NSW Fair Trading. (n.d.). Ending a Tenancy. housing-and-property/renting/ending-a-tenancy NSW Federation of Housing Associations Inc and Q Shelter. (2017) Strengthening Practice in Responding to Domestic and Family Violence: A Toolkit for Community Housing Providers. NSW Government, Family and Community Services, Programs and Service Design Directorate. (2016) Program Guidelines for Staying Home Leaving Violence Program Relationships Australia. (2007). Safe from Violence booklet. https://www. Women's Legal Service NSW. (2019). uploads/WLS-Know-Your-Rights_flyer_v3.pdf

Please write your own positive affirmations or reminders

Disclaimer: The information in this booklet is provided as a guide only, it should not be used as a substitute for specialist domestic violence or legal advice. Momentum Collective accepts no responsibility for any loss or risk suffered by any person as a consequence of using information contained in this booklet, or for any loss or risk which may arise due to an error or omission in the information. All efforts were taken to provide correct information at the time of printing, June, 2020. Please be aware that contacts and laws may change over time.


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