Are You Safe At Home? Five words that can start a conversation to end family violence

Monday 9 May 2022

down arrow

When Jennifer* was in a decades-long abusive relationship, it was her mother Susan’s* unwavering love and practical support that gave Jennifer the confidence to seek help and safely leave.

For Mishka*, a simple but powerful question from her manager started a journey to safety she never thought possible. 

When the first round of Melbourne lockdowns occurred in March 2020, people experiencing abuse found themselves stuck at home with their perpetrators 24/7 – without the respite that work, socialising and daily life had otherwise provided. Calls to helplines dried up as women were unable to reach out for support without alerting their perpetrator. 

During this time, family violence services started reporting an increase in ‘third parties’ – friends, family members and neighbours – contacting them with concerns about someone in their life. 

It was from these circumstances that Safe and Equal developed Are You Safe At Home? – a campaign to further educate and support communities to start the conversation to end family violence.  

Are You Safe At Home? provides people experiencing abuse with information about what family violence is, ways to stay safe, and where to find support. Asking the question can be tough, so the Are You Safe At Home? website also includes information for friends, family and community members on how to respond appropriately if you suspect someone you know is experiencing family violence, centered around asking the question, ‘are you safe at home?’. 

‘By asking ‘are you safe at home?’, you’re saying ‘I see you, I believe you, I care.’ The person may not act on it right away, but you’ve planted a seed that there is another option, and that support is there when they are ready,’ said Jennifer*. 

‘My ex was convicted of serious offending, but what got me safe and out wasn’t the system, it was good bystanders. It was my colleagues, my boss, people who saw red flags when I couldn’t, and said and did lots of little things. The sum of those little things made a life changing difference. That’s why I’m still alive,’ said Mishka*. 

‘We must not underestimate the crucial role family, friends and community members can play in identifying and responding to family violence, and supporting loved ones to safety,’ said Safe and Equal CEO Tania Farha.  

‘By providing clear information about what to look out for, what supports are available, and how to start the conversation, the Are You Safe At Home? campaign is designed to break down the fear and stigma associated with talking about family violence in the community,’ said Ms Farha.  

In 2022, the Are You Safe At Home? campaign is expanding with the launch of the very first Are You Safe At Home? Day on Tuesday 10 May. 

Hosted by Safe and Equal, the live-streamed event provides an opportunity to centre the voices of lived experience and learn about the significant role individuals can play in the fight to end family violence. You can access the livestream here 

‘For someone experiencing abuse, having someone ask about your safety can be incredibly meaningful. To have someone actually name what you’re experiencing as violence, believe you and offer non-judgmental support can be life-changing,’ said Ms Farha.   

‘This May, we’re asking the public to ask the question and start the conversation – because we all have the right to feel safe at home.’ 

(*not their real names)

Page last updated Monday, May 9 2022


With the Safe and Equal monthly bulletin