What is family violence?

Family violence is any threatening or abusive behaviour that occurs between people in families, marriages, de facto and LGBTIQA+ relationships. 

Family violence includes:

  • verbal abuse such as insults, name-calling, put-downs and constant criticism
  • physical violence including pushing, slapping, hitting and punching
  • emotional and psychological abuse, such as making threats and humiliating you publicly or privately
  • isolating you from family, friends and social contacts
  • financial abuse like restricting your access to money
  • threatening you or members of your family
  • smashing or destroying your personal belongings or property
  • harming or threatening to harm pets
  • forcing you to have sex.

In homes where family violence occurs, children suffer emotional and physiological abuse even if they are not physically abused themselves. Children who witness family violence can be affected in many ways, such as no longer feeling safe. 

1 woman
is killed almost every week
in Australia by a partner or ex-partner1
Women with a disability are
40% more likely
to experience family violence
than other women2
1 in 4 women
has experienced physical or sexual violence
by a current or former partner3
Violence against women and their children costs
$22 billion
in Australia each year according to estimates4
Women are
3x more likely
to experience violence
than men from a partner3
The leading cause of homelessness for women is
family violence
References   1. ANROWS, 2018. 2. CRE-DH, 2021. 3. ABS, 2017.  4. KPMG, 2016. 5. Council to Homeless Persons, 2022.

Help in your language

Find helpful information in your language by clicking on the links below.
We can connect you with an interpreting service. Call 03 9899 5666  (Monday-Friday, 9am-5.00pm)

Policies and charters

Child Safe Standards

Kara Family Violence Service is a child-focused and child-safe organisation and adheres to the Child Safe Standards. The Child Safe Standards require organisations involving children to have policies, procedures and practices to keep them safe. We are committed to child safety and the best interests of children, and have zero tolerance for child abuse.

Child Safe Standards
Rights and responsibilities

For people being supported by our service

Your rights include:

  • to be respected and feel safe
  • to have your culture, sexuality, sexual orientation or identity, disability or other diversity respected
  • to have your privacy protected unless there is a risk to yourself or others, or we are required by law to disclose information
  • to be treated as an individual, receive information about your options and decide if it is right for you
  • to involve an advocate of your choice
  • to make a complaint or provide feedback about Kara Family Violence Service and receive a response.

We also acknowledge the distinct cultural rights of Aboriginal people under the Victoria Charter of Human Rights, including the right to:

  • enjoy identity and culture
  • maintain and use language
  • maintain kinship ties
  • maintain a distinctive spiritual, material, and economic relationship and connection with the land and waters and other resources.

Your responsibilities include:

  • to respect others including Kara Family Violence Service staff
  • to adhere to Kara Family Violence Service client agreement and rules
  • to work with your Kara Family Violence Service practitioner to develop a case plan
  • to be honest with your Kara Family Violence Service practitioner so you can be safe and supported
  • to keep appointments or ring and cancel if necessary.
Victims’ Charter

Kara Family Violence Service has obligations to victims of crime under the Victorian Victims' Charter Act.

The objectives of the Victims’ Charter are to:

  • recognise the impact of crime on the victims of that crime, including the impact on members of victims' families, witnesses to the crime and in some cases, the broader community
  • recognise that all persons adversely affected by crime, regardless of whether they report the offence, should be treated with respect by all investigatory agencies, prosecuting agencies and victims' services agencies and should be offered information to enable them to access appropriate services to help with the recovery process
  • recognise that a victim of crime has an inherent interest in the response by the criminal justice system to that crime, giving rise to the rights and entitlements set out in the Victims' Charter, and to acknowledge the victim's role as a participant, but not a party, in proceedings for criminal offences
  • help reduce the likelihood of secondary victimisation by the criminal justice system.

Victims’ Charter Principles aim to ensure that all people affected by crime are treated with courtesy, respect and dignity and have their particular needs or differences taken into account:

  • be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity
  • be treated as a participant in the criminal proceeding
  • be provided with information in a way that you could understand it and in the way that you prefer
  • be informed about services to help you
  • be informed about investigation of the crime
  • be informed about prosecution of the accused
  • be informed about the trial process, being a witness, court dates, attendance at court, the court outcome and any appeals
  • be informed about bail applications and any bail conditions imposed, including those that may affect your safety
  • be asked your views about prosecution of the accused
  • be protected from unnecessary contact with accused at court
  • have an opportunity to write a Victim Impact Statement at sentencing
  • have your property handled respectfully and returned
  • have an opportunity to apply for financial assistance
  • be informed about a convicted offender’s sentence, transfer, release or escape from jail if you are on the Victims Register
  • have an opportunity to provide written submissions to a parole board
  • have your personal information kept private unless the law allows for it to be shared.

As a victim of crime, you can expect to be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity by Kara Family Violence Service practitioners. If you feel you have been mistreated by Kara Family Violence Service or another service in relation to being a victim of crime, you can:

  • speak with the Kara Family Violence Service Team Leader or Manager on 03 9899 5666
  • contact the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 and ask for the Victims’ Charter Complaints Officer
  • contact the Victims of Crime Commissioner's office on 1800 010 017.
Cultural diversity

Every year, we support people from different cultures and backgrounds including Aboriginal women and their children, members of the LGBTIQA+ community, and women and children with disabilities.

Our aim is to provide a supportive and inclusive environment to ensure everyone has the opportunity to contribute to, access, and participate in our programs and services.

We appreciate the richness of experience our diverse team and the people we work with bring to Kara Family Violence Service.

Our pledge is to lead and model an organisational commitment to promote cultural safety, show respect for the experience of the individual, ensure fairness and dignity in our interactions with all people, and foster an environment free of discrimination.

We will do this by challenging our thoughts, perceptions and beliefs; by providing ongoing training and development; and by ensuring we have no tolerance for bigotry, prejudice or intolerance of difference.