Family violence in emergencies


There are particular risks for women in a disaster situation, they may be:

  • Prevented from evacuating due to domestic and family violence
  • Blocked from accessing survival essentials: transport, water, heat, finances, emergency plans, support services or important documents
  • Brought back in contact with a violent ex-partner in the chaos of the disaster, for example at a relief or recovery centre
  • Forced to take unnecessary risks with personal safety
  • Forced to exchange sex for necessities like food water or shelter
  • Impacted by the challenges of enforcing intervention orders in a disaster-affected environment
  • Threatened by the return of someone who has been violent in the past, as they take advantage of vulnerabilities resulting from the disaster, or even take grant money
  • Dependent on a partner who is away from the home and controls the family’s emergency plan
  • Impacted by the limitations and pressures created by sudden homelessness that may be brought on by the disaster

Source: Violence in times of disaster

Preparing an emergency plan

If you are a woman experiencing family violence, you are at greater risk during fires and other emergencies and you need to have a plan.

If you know someone who is experiencing family violence, they are at greater risk during fires and other emergencies. You can help them with their emergency  planning.  

Some of the things that need to be considered as part of an emergency plan:

  • Having a radio or access to the internet to get information about local conditions
  • Access to transport
  • Somewhere to go       

Useful links

Family violence support

Help for women 

If you are a woman experiencing family violence, you can contact family violence support services for help to develop a safety plan that includes a fire and other emergencies plan.    

Centre for Non Violence

Support and referral for women and children experiencing family violence. Call 1800 884 038 or visit Centre for Non Violence

safe steps Family Violence Response Centre    

Telephone counselling and referrals. Call 1800 015 188 (24 hours) or visit safe steps Family Violence Response    


Sexual assault and family violence counselling service. Call 1800 737 732 (24 hours) or visit 1800 Respect    

Help for children and young people

Kids Helpline, up to 25 years

Telephone counselling for any reason. Call 1800 55 1800 (24 hours) or visit Kids Helpline    

Help for men

Men’s Referral Service

Men’s family violence telephone counselling, information and referral service. Call 1300 766 491 or visit No to Violence (Men's Referral Service website)