What to Do If You Are Experiencing Domestic Violence and free legal help.

The aftermath of the festive season can bring about heightened tensions and stress, especially for those navigating separation or recent breakups. If you’re finding yourself amidst holiday gatherings where safety feels uncertain, it’s imperative to recognise that support is available, and there are measures you can take to safeguard yourself and reach out for assistance.

Understanding Domestic Violence

It’s important to understand what constitutes domestic violence. It doesn’t just refer to physical abuse; it includes emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse. Recognising and understanding domestic violence can be the first step in seeking help.

Immediate Steps to Take

Ensure Your Safety

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000. Your safety is the most important concern. Find a safe place, whether it’s with a friend, family member, or a shelter.

Create a Safety Plan

Planning for a safe exit from an abusive situation is vital. This can include having a bag packed with essentials, keeping important documents easily accessible, a separate source of funds and a list of safe contacts.

Document the Abuse

If it’s safe to do so, keep a record of the incidents of domestic violence. This includes dates, times, and a description of what happened. This can be crucial evidence if legal action is necessary.

Short Term Assistance and Legal Advice

Seek Support

There are a range of support services available to individuals experiencing domestic violence. Services like 1800 Respect and White Ribbon are a good starting point for sourcing information and support.

Legal Advice

Organisations like New Way Lawyers, who practice exclusively in family law, provide legal information, advice and representation and can guide you through your options.

Legal services like those offered by New Way Lawyers ensure you have advice about your rights and options. This includes information about family violence and family law matters. They even operate a free Facebook group called Lunch With A Lawyer, that allows you to ask family law questions for free.

Long-Term Support


Accessing counselling services can support your emotional and mental well-being. It’s important to address any trauma experienced from domestic violence.

Financial Planning

If financial abuse is a part of your situation, seek advice on how to regain financial independence. Financial counsellors and financial planners can provide services to help you regroup financially.

Parenting Arrangements
It is important to ensure the safety of your children and having appropriate parenting arrangements in place for their care and welfare post separation is vital. Options may include a parenting plan or a parenting order which can cover.

  • The allocation of parental responsibility
  • Who a child lives with.
  • The time a child will spends with each parent and other significant people, like grandparents.
  • How the child will communicate with a parent they do not live with.
  • Any other aspect of the care, welfare, or development of the child.

The festive season should be a time of safety and holiday fun for everyone. If you are experiencing domestic violence, remember that you have rights and there are people ready to help. Reaching out, whether to friends, family, or services like New Way Lawyers, is a brave and crucial step towards reclaiming your life and well-being.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please reach out to New Way Lawyers for confidential legal advice and support. You are not alone, and we are here to help you navigate this challenging time.

About Carolyn Devries

Carolyn Devries is the founder of New Way Lawyers, Australia’s first non-profit law firm. 14 years ago, New Way Lawyers was established with a non-profit structure to offer Australians an alternative approach to family law, whereas most family law firms structure their business model around generating profit. Founded by Carolyn Devries, New Way Lawyers provides full family law advice and representation based on the principles of excellence, care, accessibility and innovation

New Way Lawyers also provide free legal help every lunchtime via their Facebook group ‘Lunch with a Lawyer’. Alternatively, you can contact them for a free 20-minute consultation by phoning (07) 3548 5890.