Family Violence

Family Violence Assistance - Berry Street


Overview


Our family violence service provides a range of support services to women and their children who have experienced family violence. We assist women and their children to remain safely within their community wherever possible and maintain a life free of violence, while also addressing their emotional and practical needs and issues arising from the violence.

Violence is defined as any act which makes another person feel fearful, unsafe and not in control of their own destiny. Family violence can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, verbal and financial abuse. It can occur in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. Family violence is predominantly, but not exclusively, perpetrated by men against women and children. It occurs in all ethnic & cultural groups, in all kinds of relationships & families, including heterosexual & same-sex relationships & against older people and people with a disability.


The Berry Street, Northern Family & Domestic Violence Service (NFDVS) is the lead provider and access point for the integrated family violence service system for women and children in the Northern Metropolitan sub-region. The NFDVS provides a range of support services to women and their children who have experienced family violence. The service aims to assist women and their children to remain safely within their community and maintain a life free of violence while also addressing the emotional and practical needs and issues arising from the violence.

Services are free of charge and offered to women and their children who live or work in the Local Government Areas of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra.


Guiding principles


Women and children who are experiencing or have experienced family violence are to be offered services focused on meeting their needs and delivered in a manner to facilitate self determination.

Women and children will be provided the opportunity to explore options in a respectful, non-judgemental atmosphere. It is important women and children are listened to and believed, and then supported to make their own decisions about their circumstances after fully reviewing their situation, resources and strengths.

NFDVS respect the diversity of the service user population, values difference and seeks to ensure that women are not patronised as ‘special needs’ groups. The service recognises that there are specific issues for, and diversity within groups such as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women, indigenous women, lesbians, women with disabilities, women escaping war zones, women working in the sex industry and other marginalised groups. The service will develop and maintain a culturally sensitive, responsive and accessible service.

The service operates within a collaborative & supportive team environment with a strong focus on partnerships with relevant external organisations.
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Partnerships


Much of the work undertaken by Berry Street in this area is delivered in partnership with other organisations. The Victorian Government have developed reforms that have endorsed an integrated, multi-agency approach to responding to family violence. Berry Street is the lead service provider within the Northern Integrated Family Violence Service System. Partner agencies include Anglicare Victoria, Women’s Health in the North, Crossroads/Mary Anderson Family Violence Service, Georgina/Martina Women’s Refuge, VACCA, Elizabeth Hoffman House, Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Service, the 9 sub-regional Community Health Services as well as Victoria Police and the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service.

Visit our Useful Links for
Family & Domestic Violence.

Eligibility


All women and their children are able to access the service regardless of their financial status. Referrals can be made directly to the service or initiated by another organisation. Although our preference is for women to access the service themselves the service will contact women if deemed appropriate due to safety or other concerns.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse


If you or the person you are supporting doesn’t speak English, women can call Berry Street using Translating Interpreting Service 131 450. Please tell us:

  • your number
  • your language
  • when it is safe to call.

We will call you back with a telephone interpreter.

Please tell us if there are any interpreters you don’t feel comfortable to work with as they know you, your family or your partners family, so we can request someone anonymous.

If you don’t speak English & have an emergency call 000 – please tell them your language and they will get a telephone interpreter ASAP. If you have court it is vital that an interpreter is booked.

Visit our Useful Links for
Family & Domestic Violence for more CALD Services and FV information in languages other than English.

Disability


If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment you can use the National Relay Service to phone Berry Street on (03) 9450 4700. This is a free service. For more information see the National Relay Service website .

Please use your area code (03) when giving your number so the service can reach you. TTY users can call Relay Service on 133 677 and then ask for (03) 9450 4700 and DV Intake.

If you can listen but people who don’t know you find you hard to understand please use the
Relay service speak and listen service 1800 555 727.

Visit our Useful Links for Family & Domestic Violence for more websites providing information for people with disabilities.

Case study


An elderly woman was subject to attacks from her violent adult son, who had substance use and mental health issues. The woman refused to have her son excluded from the property and there were grave fears for her safety. With our advocacy and support, a personal alarm was installed and she now knows she can call for help should she need it.