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Whether you are living with a partner who uses violence, are getting ready to leave, or have already left, planning for you and your children’s safety is crucial. Please contact WAVSS for help with creating your own safety plan. We can assist you with this over the phone and/or through counselling.
Australian statistics show that the most deadly time for a woman in a relationship with a partner who uses violence / abuse is after she has left. If you are about to or have just left, this is a time for the utmost security, support, planning and knowledge. Following these suggestions is not a guarantee of safety but could help to improve your protection. Remember, the most important thing is for you and your children to be safe.
Experiencing a crisis can seem overwhelming. When abuse/violence is involved this can be particularly traumatic, often making it difficult to know where to start or to think clearly. We can help you work out what will help the most by providing you with support, information and options.
We can assist women who decide to leave their abusive/violent relationship by providing them with support and information about increasing their safety, refuges and Domestic Violence Order (DVO) applications. WAVSS staff can also assist with a variety of relevant referrals for crisis accommodation, emergency relief and support, and addressing practical issues.
Counselling for Women
Free individual counselling for women who have experienced domestic and family violence. Counselling can help you manage the impact of being in a relationship where there was violence / abuse. It can also support you to make decisions about what is best for you, including whether or not to stay with your partner and how to remain safe.
Counselling for Children
Free individual and family counselling for mothers and their children who have witnessed or lived with domestic and family violence. This can help children with feelings such as sadness and anxiety, make some sense about what has happened in their family, and explore their emotions in a safe and supportive environment.
Knowing that someone you know and care about is being abused by her partner is frustrating and frightening. Family, friends, workmates and neighbours can often feel the same powerlessness to deal with the situation as the person being abused.
As members of families, friendship networks and the broader community, we have a responsibility to work towards the elimination of Domestic Violence. We do that by breaking the silence and speaking out against it, taking action, naming the violence and challenging existing beliefs and attitudes. It’s about getting involved in community projects, or as support people, and NOT mind out own business when we suspect someone we know is being violated, abused and living in fear.
Remember: Domestic Violence is a Crime Punishible by Law
Credit: Domestic Violence Resource Service (Mackay & Region) Inc.
To better support immediate crisis response and safety assessment, WAVSS offers an ‘open door’ policy to all women and children wishing to access our service. We encourage women to attend our service at any time should they require immediate assistance, especially when they first reach out for help.
In an emergency call
the police on 000 (triple zero)
1800 811 811
(Queensland) 24 hours, 7 days a week
1800 600 636
(Queensland) 9am to 12 midnight, 7 days a week
Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline
1800 010 120
(Queensland) 7.30am to 11.30pm, 7 days a week
Elder Abuse Helpline
1300 651 192
(Queensland) 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Whether you are experiencing a crisis, just want talk to someone, or are unsure of where to go, you are welcome to come in and see us or give us a call. WAVSS staff team listen attentively and non-judgementally to women’s (your) stories and provide options that involve women making decisions in relation to options that they would like to explore. With information and empowerment we support women to make their own decisions around what is best for them, with full consideration for protection needs for children.
WAVSS staff team work holistically together to assist the crisis team to wrap a holistic cushion of support around the client; for example, whilst the crisis worker calls refuge and processes the referral, a supporting staff member will sit with women to provide more information and care, and another staff member may care for and support children with toys and informal assessment or play therapy overseeing them in the back garden or bringing them into the children’s counselling space. We provide senior worker support and team supervision to all actions requiring immediate intervention and follow-up, particularly for women presenting at high risk.
WAVSS staff engages the client and their children in a warm and comfortable environment; and take pride in their ability to help clients feel welcome and safe. Our office space is decorated with bright colours and soft furnishings that replicate a home environment. In our waiting room we provide toys for the children and a cup of tea/coffee for women whilst they wait to be seen by one of the team. WAVSS support helps women to see that they (and their children) deserve to be nurtured and cared for. Some feedback from our clients is: “I feel so comfortable here” or “I feel like I am in someone’s home” and “it is so colourful and relaxing here, I feel safe”.
You can also request our comprehensive Safety Planning guide by contacting us on (07) 3808 5566. For your safety, we have decided it is best to not make most of this information readily available to fall into unsafe hands.
A WAVSS Staff member will be present at the following courts:
Beaudesert DV Court
Every Monday from 9am
(a WAVSS staff member will be there from 8:30am)
Cleveland DV Court
Every Wednesday from 9am
(a WAVSS staff member will be there from 8:30am)
Wynnum DV Court
Every Tuesday morning
Please note: Although we cannot provide legal advice, we can refer women to a number of legal services where there are lawyers who are experienced in dealing with domestic and family violence issues, including child access and property matters.
The person from whom the aggrieved wants protection from is called the respondent.
The person who wants protection is called the aggrieved.
Our Court Support program allows our experienced and specialist workers to provide information and support the aggrieved in the application process for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVO). While we are not a Legal Support service (and therefore cannot provide legal advice), we understand the complex and distressing situation of going to court, and aim to make the process less daunting. We can refer women to Legal Services, who understand Domestic and Family violence, for professional assistance in issues such as Property and Family Matters.
Who The Law Protects
The Domestic Violence (Family Protection) Act 2012 protects people from their spouse in situations of domestic violence. The law can also protect the relatives and associates (family, friends and workmates) of the aggrieved spouse.
Your job is to tell the truth about what you remember happened.
Speak in a big voice so that the person farthest away from you can hear.
Think about the questions asked. Take your time before answering.
Make sure you understand the questions. If you don’t know what the person is asking you, then say you do not understand. If you don’t understand the whole question or don’t hear the question clearly, speak up and say so.
You do not have to look at the defendant or the defence lawyer.
If you are worried about looking at the defendant, decide on someone / something else to look at, for example the magistrate or the bench in front of the lawyer.
If you are nervous, take deep breaths and answer questions slowly.
You may ask to go to the toiler or for a glass of water.
You don’t have to remember everything. If you can’t remember the answer to a question, just say “I don’t remember”. It is better to say this than to make something up. No one expects you to remember everything after such a long time.
If you don’t want the accused to know your address you can ask to write it down and give it to the magistrate instead of saying it out loud.
The people questioning you might not look at you when they ask you questions or they might speak to you in a voice that seems to be loud or angry. You are not in trouble and the person is not really angry with you.
If they say “I object”, this does not mean they are angry with you or that you have made a mistake. They are arguing about the law.
Credit: Nothing But The Truth – Court Preparation Handout 6
Free ongoing support groups to help women care for themselves, reclaim their lives and understand the cycle of domestic and family violence and its affects on themselves and their children. WAVSS also runs therapeutic groups for children who have witnessed or lived with domestic violence.
WAVSS currently facilitates the following groups:
Shine On The Islands
Art Therapy and Cooking Classes on Macleay, Russell, Karragarra and Lamb Islands.
Freedom From Anger
Care 4 Mums
An open address and immediate referral response is welcoming and helps to increase safety. If the Crisis Response team is overloaded, there is a whole of team strategy to provide immediate backup to presenting clients. WAVSS responds to all referrals, from all sources including our open door policy on the same day that they are received.
Please call us for our address - (07) 3808 5566
Contact us for more information.