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Are You Safe?
Everyone has the right to live in a safe environment. There is never an excuse for family violence, no matter which part of the Jewish community you belong to.
“Anger in a home is like a worm in a fruit.”
– Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 3b
Family violence creeps up on relationships. If your partner’s behaviour makes you uncomfortable, anxious or fearful, you may be experiencing family violence. You could learn more about family violence. Or call the Jewish Taskforce Support Line or another appropriate service for a confidential chat.
If your partner is verbally abusive, physically violent or sexually coercive, you are not safe. Children living with family violence are at risk. Even if children don’t see or hear the abuse itself, they witness the results. If you ever need to act quickly, follow your Safety Plan and call 000.
Concerned for someone you know? Learn more about Helping Someone.
Just like other emergency situations, it is wise to prepare. In case there is ever a time that you or the children are in danger. Some practical ways women can prepare include:
Before a flare-up
- Create an ICE (in Case of Emergency) phone contact with the 000 number.
- Pre-arrange a code word with family or friends to indicate danger.
- Secure your mobile phone with a password or PIN.
- Make a Safety Plan and practice your emergency ‘Fire’ drill with children.
- Keep a diary of any incidents, including date, time and what happened.
- Take photos of any injuries and always seek medical attention.
- Tell the GP how your injury happened.
- Collate important documents (see below) and make copies.
- Gather any information you need for an Intervention Order.
- Open a separate bank account so you have access to money.
- Collect some spare change or buy a phone card so you can always make calls.
- Pack a bag of clothes, keys, documents and money. Include photos and medication.
- Leave your packed bag with a trusted friend or family member.
- Plan an escape route and where you will go, in case you need to leave the house.
During an outburst
Even if abuse is usually verbal, family violence episodes are volatile and can rapidly escalate into physical assault. Especially if the one being abused becomes assertive or seeks to leave.
During an event:
- Go somewhere in the house with a clear, unobstructed exit.
- Avoid rooms with hard surfaces (like the bathroom) and anywhere there could be a knife.
- Stay in an area where there is a phone or take a charged mobile with you.
- If the situation becomes dangerous or violent, activate your Safety Plan and call 000.
Children are affected by family violence, even if the abuse occurs in private. Keep children as safe as possible by:
- Identifying a safe area they can go in case of an argument.
- Encouraging children not to get involved.
- Make a Safety Plan and practise it with children.
- Remind children family violence is never right, even if the abuser is someone they love.
- Reinforce with children they are not the cause of the abuse and tell them you love them.
If possible, keep important document originals in a safe and accessible place. If you are planning to leave, make a copy to keep away from the house. Documents you may need access to include:
- Driver’s Licence.
- Passports and Visas.
- Birth and Marriage certificates.
- House title or lease and insurance.
- Car registration, finance and insurance.
- Cheque book, credit and debit cards.
- Centrelink benefit cards.
- Legal documents, including Divorce, Access and Restraining/Intervention Orders.
- Family medical records.