Start a conversation to end family violence

Tuesday 10 May 2022

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Today (May 10) is Are You Safe At Home? Day – a chance to start a conversation to end family violence.

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 reduce the stigma and fear associated with asking the question, and to support communities to feel more comfortable identifying and responding to family violence. 

Expanding to a national campaign in 2022, the new Are You Safe at Home? website 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 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, ‘are you safe at home?’. 

‘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.’

– Tania Farha, Safe and Equal CEO

This morning’s live-streamed event to launch the very first Are You Safe at Home? Day provided 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.  

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams, gave a powerful opening address that articulated the significance of community engagement and support in preventing and responding to family violence. 

‘Where people are, is where this conversation needs to be. It’s as simple as that,’ she said. 

Minister Williams went on to acknowledge the importance of awareness-raising campaigns in further educating the public, saying ‘the community at large has more of an understanding of what family violence is, due in large part to campaigns like this.’ 

Following Minister Williams’ address, MC and AFLW Richmond player Akec Majur Chuot facilitated a discussion with Elvis and Mishka* two survivor advocates who both have had experiences with being asked ‘are you safe at home?’. 

For Elvis, who experienced family violence related to his identity as a young LGBTQIA+ person, being able to name what he was experiencing as family violence was complex and difficult. 

For a long time, I thought family violence was only experienced by women in intimate partner relationships,’ he said.

‘If someone would have asked me…I might have opened up about my experience and maybe that would have fast-tracked my recovery.’ 

Mishka* shared her similar experience with being unable to recognise that she was experiencing family violence, but had supportive work colleagues who were able to name the violence and provide pathways to safety. 

‘Quite often the last person to realise they are a family violence victim is the victim themselves….my colleagues knew I was a family violence victim before I did,’ she said. 

Both Elvis and Mishka* highlighted the importance of bystander intervention – particularly of being non-judgemental and asking the individual experiencing violence what they need for support. 

‘If you see a red flag, it doesn’t do any harm to call it out and ask the question…you’ve planted a seed,’ said Mishka*. 

‘Just be a good listener. Be there for someone, listen to what they are going through,’ added Elvis. 

Both advocates advised that having regular check-ins, offering practical support and remaining patient and understanding can really make all the difference. 

‘What my colleagues did was slowly build me up, and show me I was valued and cared about, and that the violence was not my fault,’ said Mishka*. 

‘That gave me the strength to save myself, to get myself safe.’ 

Safe and Equal would like to thank Elvis, Mishka*, Akec and Minister Williams for providing their advocacy and support in the launch of Are You Safe at Home? Day. 

Click here to view the livestream of the Are You Safe At Home? Day event.

For more information and resources, please visit 


*names have been changed. 

Page last updated Tuesday, May 10 2022


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