Staying Safe Fact Sheet
If you are in an emergency situation, please contact 000 immediately or call the Family Violence Response and Referral Line on 1800 633 937.
They are open 24 hours, seven days a week.
Everyone has the right to be safe in their home. Unfortunately, some people suffer family violence and they are not safe. If you are not safe, finding a secure and affordable home for you and your family is a priority.
This fact sheet explains what to do if you need social housing, and if you are already in social housing. For most people, it's better if you can speak to someone earlier, rather than later. Please know that you can seek support and that services are available to help you.
What is family violence?
Family violence is a form of abuse. It might include physical abuse, assault, sexual abuse, threatening behaviours, bullying or verbal abuse. For some people, the abuse is emotional. Or, it may be about money, religion or culture.
All of these things are wrong. Family violence is against the law. It is not acceptable in our community. Breaking a Family Violence Order (FVO) is against the law.
Family violence is not the fault of the person experiencing it.
What is Safe at Home?
Safe at Home is a program run by the Tasmanian Government. It was created under the Family Violence Act 2004. This is a law that says people in Tasmania must be safe and be protected from abuse. Safe at Home brings together a range of services to help people who are suffering from family violence.
If you are experiencing or at risk of family violence you should contact Safe at Home.
You can call the Family Violence Response and Referral Line on 1800 633 937.
They are open 24 hours, seven days a week.
And you can visit the website at www.safeathome.tas.gov.au
What if you are homeless because of family violence?
There are emergency housing services for people who are homeless because of family violence. You should contact Safe at Home, as above, or you can contact Housing Connect on 1800 800 588.
How do you find somewhere to live?
If you are in need of a safe, secure and affordable home, you should contact Housing Connect. Housing Connect is a new way of getting housing and support in Tasmania.
Housing Connect can work out what kind of housing you need and can link you to other support services.
Housing Connect is for people who have:
- never lived in public housing
- been living in public housing for a while.
The people at Housing Connect know that escaping family violence is not easy.
They can help you.
Housing Connect will:
- give you information
- help you to make decisions
- explain what they can and can't do
- understand that the person is not responsible for what is happening
- offer you an interpreter if you need one
- allow you to bring a support person if that helps you
- talk to you in a private room
- allow you to talk to a man or a woman, depending on who you want to talk to.
How long do you need to wait?
There is a waiting list for public housing. Some people have more urgent needs than others. This might be because of disability, homelessness or a problem like family violence. The highest level of need is called Category 1. We aim to make sure that people in Category 1 can move into a home as quickly as possible. If you are experiencing family violence, you will be in a higher category. But we may need some evidence – such as documents, or a letter from a doctor or lawyer – to confirm your urgent need for housing.
What information will be collected about you?
Housing Connect, and your tenancy manager, will need to know some things about you. They will not need to know everything that has happened. But they may need to know things like:
- whether you or your children are in immediate danger
- where you need to live
- what supports you have in place
- if there is a current Family Violence Order (FVO).
We will always believe what you are telling us. However, we may need to see some documents, such as an FVO or documents from a lawyer or doctor. These types of documents confirm for us that your situation is a high priority.
You can still talk to us if you don't have these kinds of documents at the moment.
Will your information be kept private?
Housing Connect and Housing Tasmania cannot share your information with anyone else unless you say it is ok to do so. All of your information will be kept confidential. However, under the law, we must report any situation where a child may suffer abuse.
What if I already live in a Housing Tasmania home?
If you already live in a Housing Tasmania home but you have to leave because of family violence, please tell us. It's important that you and your family are safe.
We need to know that you haven't abandoned your home. So it's a good idea to tell us that you've left. We can also help you access other types of support.
These days, there are a number of different organisations that manage public housing properties. They are called 'social housing providers'. Their role is similar to that of a real estate agent or landlord in the private rental market. Housing Tasmania is one of these providers. Some examples of social housing providers currently working in Tasmania include:
- Housing Tasmania
- Centacare Evolve Housing
- Community Housing Limited
- Housing Choices Tasmania
- Mission Australia Housing
You may live in a home that is managed by one of the social housing providers.
If you have to leave your home, it's a good idea to contact your social housing provider directly to tell them that you've left.
They will need to know that you haven't abandoned your home. And they can also help to put you in touch with other services.
What if you move back in with your partner?
We understand that, sometimes, people get back together with their partner.
We will never judge you or question your decisions. Only you know what is right for you. We just want you and your family members to be safe and have the right support in place. If you do move back in with your partner, please let us know.
Can you ask for more security?
Sometimes, we upgrade the security at certain homes to protect victims of family violence. This may make it safe for you to return to your home. Please talk to us about this. We will consider this on a case-by-case basis. We will also seek advice about this from the police. If it is not safe for you to return to your home, we may talk to you about a moving to another home.
Rebecca fled her home in the middle of the night. She rushed her kids into the car. They only had the clothes they were wearing and hardly any of their things.
She felt desperate and alone. She didn't know where to go. They spent the first night in the car.
Rebecca had the Housing Tasmania phone number in her wallet. She phoned them and they put her in touch with Safe at Home. Safe at Home found Rebecca and her family urgent accommodation. She was able to stay there while she waited to move into a home of her own. While she was there, she could access counselling services and get some support, including clothes for the kids.
Rebecca worked with an officer at Housing Connect. They put her on the waiting list for a home. Eventually, she moved into a two bedroom unit that was managed by Mission Australia Housing. She felt safe in her unit. Her kids could start school again and Rebecca felt like she could start getting her life back on track.
Other fact sheets that might be useful:
Housing Connect contact details
Housing Connect - 1800 800 588
Housing Connect - firstname.lastname@example.org
Our contact details
Housing Tasmania - 1300 665 663
TTY users phone 133 677, then ask for 1300 13 55 13. Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 13 55 13.
Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 1300 13 55 13.
Department of Communities Tasmania