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As one of Victoria’s largest providers of family violence services, we’re seeing an increase in family violence reporting and victim survivors who require support.

So what exactly is family violence?

Family violence can be defined as a pattern of behaviour by perpetrators to exercise power and control over a current or former intimate partner or family member. It’s important to acknowledge there are many behaviours that constitute family violence – abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or psychological. In addition, perpetrators often exert other subtle behaviours, such as seeking to cause fear, be economically exploitative or coercive.

It's also important to remember that children are victims in their own right. The evidence demonstrates that when there is a child or infant (including in-utero) involved, regardless of whether violence is directed at them, they are significantly and adversely impacted in the long term.

Family violence is more prevalent in our communities now than it’s ever been. It’s devastating how many women are too terrified to navigate the system to seek help and so remain silent. We have a long way to go to ensure justice and protection for victim survivors of family violence, but I’m hopeful we can get there. As a society, we must address the scourge of family violence and take collective action now.

Jenny McNaughton Berry Street Deputy CEO 

We work with victim survivors to support them to assess the level of risk posed by the perpetrator’s behaviour choices and to develop and coordinate an individualised risk management plan. The plans respond to perpetrator’s patterns of abuse as well as providing practical support to help them to rebuild their safety and stability.

Jac Dwyer Northern Specialist Family Violence Service, Berry Street 
Eva Ollie FV blog

A story from a victim survivor

Eva* was 27 weeks pregnant, when she should have been excited about the birth of her baby, setting up a nursery and planning a future together. Instead, she was experiencing such terrible intimate partner violence that she wasn’t sure if she’d live long enough to meet her baby...

How you can help

Whether you're interested in foster care, giving back through our mentor programs or supporting our work financially, there are many ways you can help Berry Street fight the scourge of family violence.