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Ending an abusive and violent relationship is one of the bravest things you'll ever do.
This might be an overwhelming time for you and you may not be sure where to begin. Ending the relationship can be complex, especially if you and your children want to keep living in your home. It may even take you several attempts before you finally break up for good.
Remember that it's your right to feel safe and be treated with respect in a relationship. The abuse and violence is never your fault. Domestic violence is a crime.
There are many reasons why you might want to stay in your home and have the abuser leave the residence. Each person's situation is different. You may not want to move away from your support system of family and friends, the school your children attend and the community where you live. Whatever the reason, it's best to take it one step at a time and put the safety of you and your children first.
Ending an abusive and violent relationship will take planning and support. Here are some things you'll need to consider.
DO NOT tell your abuser that you want to end the relationship or even that you're thinking about it. The period just before and just after breaking up can be the most dangerous for you and your children. It's important you're aware of this.
Contact a support services worker to talk about how to leave the relationship in the safest way possible for you and your children. They can help you create a safety plan and also refer you to other support services available for you and your children, and explain how to get an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order). Read more about this in Apply for an AVO below.
A support services worker is available to talk to you 24/7 by calling:
Right now, you need to make sure you and children are safe. We have helpful information about how you can do this:
An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a court order to protect victims of domestic violence who are fearful of future violence or fearful of their safety. It bans the person causing you fear from assaulting, threatening, stalking or intimidating you. If the person breaches (breaks) the AVO, then they may be charged with a criminal offence.
An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is made to protect a person where a domestic relationship exists between the parties. Exclusion Orders within an ADVO, allow you to remain at home while removing or prohibiting the violent person from living in the same home as you - the protected person. Read about how you can get an AVO.
Women and children escaping domestic and family violence often end up homeless. The aim of the Staying Home Leaving Violence program is to prevent this by removing the violent offender from the home. The reality is it's the offender who is responsible for their own abusive behaviour. Not a spouse, ex-partner or child.
The program works in cooperation with NSW Police to remove the perpetrator (the violent partner) from the family home so that you and your children can stay safely where you are. It also provides support such as improving home security, safety planning, help in managing finances, and help with the legal process. There are 27 locations across NSW where this program is available. Find out more about the Staying Home Leaving Violence program, where the 27 locations are, and who to contact.
Once the violent partner is out of the home and there is an ADVO out against him, you'll need to ensure that your home is secure. Here are some security measures you can take:
The Northside Community Service has a Domestic and Family Violence Safety Planning Guide that is a printable booklet that has helpful information on staying safe at home and work for you and your children once you've left the violent relationship.
You might also want to consider these next steps:
Provides free legal advice, assistance, referral and representation for women on family law, domestic violence and sexual assault. The service also provides help with applying for legal aid.
There are other legal services you can access, some are specifically for Aboriginal women, children and young people, the LGBTQI community, persons who have disability, and multicultural and multilingual women.
Women and Family Law by Women's Legal Service NSW is a plain-English guide to family law in NSW and covers topics such as divorce, children, AVOs, violence, child support and property settlement. The guide is available on web pages, eBook for Kindle or iPads, and as a downloadable and printable PDF.
09 Feb 2022
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.