Family Violence Support

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If you or someone you know is at risk of or experiencing family violence, please call Orange Door on 1800 312 820 or get in touch with us at Wathaurong by calling 5277 0044 or email . Our business hours are Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. If you need emergency support outside these hours, please contact Safe Steps 24/7 hotline on 1800 015 188, or call Victoria Police on 000 in an emergency.

Every human being has a right to be safe and live the life they choose, but for many people, this right has been taken from them by family violence.

As of 2017, Aboriginal women are 35 times more likely to be admitted to hospital due to domestic violence than non-Aboriginal women and are similarly over-represented in deaths caused by family violence. This is caused by a complex array of factors, including the ongoing legacy of colonisation, intergenerational trauma, alcohol and other drugs, and poverty.

We offer services to support families experiencing family violence, and we provide this support with an understanding of cultural needs. For example, families who have suffered under Stolen Generation actions often have parenting styles that are not accepted in the mainstream. Also, Aboriginal women often don’t report violence, sometimes fearing negative repercussions from police, a loss of privacy in small communities and the death of men in custody.

Our services understand these issues and offer appropriate support in relation to safety, housing, trauma, health, child development, social inclusion and anything else needed.

Family Violence Accommodation Support
Wathaurong Family Violence Accommodation Support program aims to provide culturally appropriate, holistic, individualised and flexible support packages to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and families who are escaping family violence, have recently experienced family violence and /or are planning to leave an abusive situation to maintain or establish safe and secure housing for themselves and their families. [or have the perpetrator removed from the home with appropriate legal sanctions in place]. 
Eligibility for the program requires: 

Willingness to engage with case management and planning towards freedom from violence and security in housing

A current Intervention Order 

If Intervention Order is not in place, individual/family must be willing to actively seek this and support to achieve this can be provided by case worker. 

Positive steps/intentions to move away from current situation through creation of, and engagement in support plan around housing needs  

Priority will be given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are experiencing housing distress or homelessness and are 

Victims/survivors at highest risk from Family Violence 

Victims/survivors whose safety & security needs along with independent living goals can reasonably be met through a flexible support package 

Victims/survivors who are experiencing significant financial hardship 

Call the Orange Door on 1800 312 820 during business hours for a referral to Wathaurong Family Violence Services.
Aboriginal Tenants At Risk (ATAR)

Introduced in 2006 as part of the Victorian Homelessness Strategy, Aboriginal Tenants at Risk Program (ATAR) provides housing support for Indigenous tenants both public or community managed housing across Victoria. ATAR aims to support and resolve difficulties people are experiencing with rent and disputes between household members or neighbour’s that place tenancies at risk. Households are supported to stabilise their housing and retain their tenancies rather than leave the property or risk eviction.

Tenants who reside in both Public and Community managed housing across Victoria, including limited support to private rental clients are eligible to receive support from the ATAR program.

Tenants can self-refer to the ATAR Program by calling Wathaurong on 03 5277 044, or sending an email to

Services provided by ATAR Program;

Provide limited financial support

Work with tenants to help them maintain their tenancies.

Assist clients at VCAT hearings

Advocate to resolve rent issues

Advocate to resolve issues between household members or neighbor’s

Advocate between Landlords and Tenants

Liaise with Aboriginal Housing Victoria and Office of Housing

Referral to other Wathaurong Services and Programs

The ATAR program also provides food voucher assistance through Give Where You Live and the Geelong Food Relief Centre.

Private Rental Assistance Program
Wathaurong can assist Aboriginal Community with access to Private Rental Assistance Program.

Private rental refers to a private tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Some marginal tenures, including caravan parks and rooming houses, are included under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. PRAP service providers must ensure that there is a formal private tenancy agreement in place. PRAP service providers must work with households to ensure these forms of housing are appropriate and a long term option and are not used as an emergency response.

PRAP is a preventative intervention that provides holistic support to households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It should be delivered in a flexible manner, to provide support and practical assistance that is tailored to the needs of each household.
PRAP is intended to prevent or end homelessness and housing crisis by:

Rapidly rehousing people capable of sustaining private rental after initial support.

Supporting at risk households to sustain affordable and appropriate housing in the private rental market.

Assisting people who currently live in crisis, transitional or social housing to become independent in the private rental market.

If you would like to know more please make contact with the Aboriginal Tenants at Risk Worker.

Men’s Case Management
Wathaurong’s Men’s Family Violence team supported 16 referrals from family violence pathways in the 2020/2021 financial year. The team has worked closely with the Wathaurong Health Service, Wathaurong Mental Health team, Wathaurong Alcohol and Other Drugs team and external programs such as Dardi Munwurro to increase men’s participation in community and men’s business.

The team continues to work to engage local community to attend weekly yarning circles, Men’s behaviour change programs, and provide residential support services.

We look forward to continuing the work in this space to promote engagement, health and wellbeing and ultimately reduce the use of violence in the community.

Call the Orange Door on 1800 312 820 during business hours for a referral to Wathaurong Family Violence Services.

Orange Door
The Orange Door was established as part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Community members and anyone identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander can self-refer by calling or going to The Orange Door, or may be referred by agencies such as Victoria Police, Child Protection, GPs, Family Services agencies, mental health services, hospitals etc.
The Orange Door provides initial support to those in need. Services available include:

risk and needs assessment

safety planning

crisis support

Referral to agencies who can provide support for families and family violence services for women, children and men.

Wathaurong is a partner agency with Barwon’s Orange Door Safety and Support Hub. We have an Aboriginal Practice Lead and two Aboriginal Hub Practitioners who can support adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence, and families who need extra support with the care of children.
As well as providing service through direct contact with the Orange Door, the Wathaurong team also advocates for improvement in outcomes for Community at a systems level, by representing Community in Family Violence related forums, groups and workshops.
Call the Orange Door on 1800 312 820 during business hours for a referral to Wathaurong Family Violence Services.