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Emergency Temporary Accommodation
Housing NSW provides emergency temporary accommodation in low-cost hotels, motels, caravan parks and similar accommodation for people who are or homeless or are experiencing a housing crisis. For further information please contact your local Housing NSW office at Liverpool on Tel: 982 16022.

Contact Your Local Housing Provider
You can contact your nearest Housing Pathways participating housing provider for housing advice and assistance on
Tel: 9821 6022. They can also help you to apply for longer term housing.

Deaf, Hearing Impaired and Speech Impaired Access
If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service:
1.  TTY Users Phone 133 677 then ask for 1800 422 322
2. Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1800 422 322
3. Internet Relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 1800 422 322

Interpreting Services
If you need help with interpreting or translation because English is not your first language, phone the All Graduates Translating and Interpreting Service on 1300 652 488. They will phone the housing organisation and interpret for you for free. (Ref:  http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/help-with-housing)

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Women who have separated from their partners after domestic violence have to consider keeping themselves safe in their homes. These are some suggestions which can provide some safety for you and your children. If you are unable to afford some of the suggested measures a support agency listed behind this leaflet may be able to help.
1. Tell family, friends and neighbours who have been supportive about what is happening.
2. Change your door locks (front and back if in a house) and ensure that your windows cannot be broken into.
3. Consider installing security devices such as an alarm systems, motion sensor lights and security screens to your doors if you can afford them. A peep hole on your door can also help in determining who to open your door to. 
4. Inform your neighbours so they can look out for the person you are scared of.
5. Ask your neighbours to contact the police if they see the person listed on your Protection Order.
6. Change your phone number or email address and be careful who you give the contacts to.
7. Keep the phone numbers of emergency services e.g. police, agencies who have supported you, on quick dial.
8. Ensure your house keys and car keys are in your hand when you are leaving or entering your home.
9. Always keep a record of suspicious activity or threatening behaviour you have encountered.

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Depending on the ages of your children tell them as much as they need to know to keep them safe. It is not necessary to tell them everything, but children do need to be guided on how they can keep themselves safe. Speak to your a worker about what to advise children. These are some other steps you can take to help them keep safe.
1. Teach them how to use the phone or mobile to call the police or someone they trust when confronted by danger.
2. Advise the school they attend and provide them with a copy of the Protection Order if their father is not to go near them.
3. Inform your children that if danger presents they should run to safety even without you. Give them options of who or where to go to should they need to escape.

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Children are the most vulnerable link in the dynamic of family violence because they are dependent on the adults around them. They need to grow up in a secure, nurturing and predictable home but when it is filled with tension, fear and anxiety because of domestic violence, significant emotional and psychological trauma can be experienced. Younger children will be more affected than older children mainly because of their development. Even though not all children are affected in the same ways research has consistently shown that children who come from violent homes are more at risk of developing emotional, behavioural, social and educational problems.

There are a number of ways that children can be affected by domestic violence:
1.  Direct victim of the aggressor who intended to harm the child. Studies show that at least half of all abusive partners also abuse their children (Pagelow, 1989).
2. Indirect victim when the child could be traumatised by listening to the shouts, plates or chairs thrown and being witness to the injuries of their mother, for example. Children have also been found to get caught in the middle of an assault when they try to intervene in the abuse.
The risk of harm during and after their parent’s have separated is quite substantial.

Some of these reactions can include:
Self blame
Helplessness
Grief
Fear
Worry
Sadness
Anger
Numbness
Children may also experience:
Poor concentration
Always on edge, wariness
Aggression, hyperactivity, disobedience
Disturbed sleep, nightmares
Withdrawal, low self-esteem
Fantasise about normal home life
Pessimism about the future
Physical symptoms like tummy aches, headaches, etc.
Older Children/Teenagers could show:
Depression
Poorly developed communication skills
Embarrassment about the family
Shame
Withdrawal
Overprotectiveness
Aggression, e.g violent outbursts

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It is important to remember that the police are employed to protect your safety whether in public or in the privacy of your own home. Police have specific legislative powers under their Code of Practice to enter premises without warrants in cases of domestic and family violence.  This could include: the power to enter premises in emergencies. A police officer may enter a dwelling if a breach of the peace is being or is likely to be committed and it is necessary to end or prevent the breach of the peace. Or, a person has suffered a significant physical injury and it is necessary to prevent further significant physical injury. Police will gain entry under these circumstances using all reasonable and necessary force. (Ref: The Laws of Australia, Vol. 17 Family Law.)

In domestic violence cases police who attend a domestic violence incident will investigate and take action where called for.  Since 01 July 2015 they will also ask the victim the 25 risk identification questions on the Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) which they will record answers in their notebook and later transfer to their computer to be electronically referred to specialist DV support services. The DVSAT identifies whether a victim is placed on a level of either ‘at threat’ or ‘serious threat’. Those deemed as ‘serious threat’ will be discussed at a fortnightly meeting chaired by a senior police officer, generally the Crime Manager, where a safety action plan will be created to reduce the risk of harm to the victim. 

The police will determine whether the application for an Interim/Provisional Protection Order should be made to protect the safety of the person/s and property when called out to an incident. Once this is made the Interim Protection Order must be listed on the next domestic violence list day at an appropriate court but not more than 28 days after the order is made. The offender has to be served a copy of the Interim Protection Order and will have to be represented by their own solicitor, but victims will be represented by the  Police Prosecutor at Court.  

It is vital that you inform the police of the facts that made you afraid of the offender. You can also ask for additional conditions of the Order at that point in time if you are able to do so as otherwise they will determine what the conditions should be. The additional conditions could include – how close in proximity the offender can come near you; whether the offender can approach or enter places where you may live, work or frequent or not to damage property.​​

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Applying for a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) if you are experiencing domestic violence can help protect you and your children. These orders contain conditions that are legally enforceable which means it will allow the police to intervene. It becomes a chargeable offence only if the person who is violent does not follow them and you are placed at risk. Generally you can choose the conditions you want, e.g. not to come 100 metres near the house or near you. An applicant can pursue a permanent DVO of up to 24 months at maximum.

When applying for a protection order you may be required to attend Court on several occasions. The first step that happens is an application for an interim order. Either the police or yourself can apply for this and you will have to attend what the Court calls A MENTION which makes conditions enforceable as soon as the paperwork is served by Police on the person who is violent. Usually if they agree the Protection Order will be put into place. However if the offender feels that the order is not fair or wants it to be amended this will be decided by the Court at A HEARING. You will be required to present at Court and witnesses may be called at this point. An applicant can pursue a permanent DVO of up to 24 months at maximum.

Once the DVO is in place the offender is said to have ‘breached” the Order if any of the conditions are not followed. At this time the police will need to be contacted and the offender can be picked up for this breach. It is only at this stage that the police will determine that a “crime” has been committed and the offender will be charged for this crime.

It is important for you to think and plan before applying for a DVO. Sometimes you will need to consider whether or not taking this action will place you at further risk of violence and whether or not you are prepared to call Police every time there is a breach of the conditions of the DVO. The majority of perpetrators of violence will follow the DVO as they know that legally they could be charged with a crime if they breached the Order. We would suggest that you speak about it with the agency who will be supporting you. 

Until the DVO is in place it might be advisable that you take extra care to keep yourself safe. Staying with family or friends would be something to consider or ensuring that you not communicate with the offender. Often offenders will pressure the applicant to withdraw the DVO, but we know from experience that offenders are more than likely to feel that they have to follow the conditions listed. At Liverpool Court there is a Domestic Violence Court Support Room where you and any accompanying children can be supported and feel safe until your case is heard.

There are various services who offer practical support to help you go through the process.

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When a Domestic Violence Order has been issued to you and the offender breaches a condition of the Order it is essential that the police be contacted as soon as this has occurred.  When you call the police say very clearly that a DVO has been issued (give Order Number and date issued) and that a breach has occurred on a condition listed in the DVO. Ask the police specific information like:
Can I please have your name?
When can you advise me if the offender has been contacted by the police?
Make sure you record your contact with the police in a book. List date and time and who you spoke to in case you forget the details, as under times of stress this is more likely.

If you feel that the police you are speaking to is not receptive or respectful of what you are telling him/her, ask to speak to the Duty Officer or a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) at the Station and provide him/her with the name of the police you were speaking to and what was said and that you are unhappy with his/her conduct.

Bear in mind that police are only human and each person may have their own prejudices and biases.  It is sometimes important to remind a police officer you are dealing with that you have rights. It is necessary sometimes to show assertiveness rather than aggressiveness when you are confronted with a situation that you are unhappy with. 

Please note that when an Apprehended Violence Order has been issued this will go both ways. “Police may threaten to or actually charge a victim with aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a breach of a protection order where they believe the victim consented to the breach. (Ref: Australian Law Reform Commission, Apprehended Violence Orders, Report 103 (2003).)

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The following services are available to people who are at risk of homelessness.

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Social Housing
To ensure that social housing assists clients who are most in need, the eligibility criteria for social housing concentrates on assisting:
1. Clients on low income who need support to help them live independently, and 
2. Clients on low income who have problems finding affordable housing in the private market that is suited to their needs.

Participating social housing providers will assess eligibility and priority for clients seeking social housing. All participating providers will accept the outcome of this assessment. When an assessment is complete, the provider will notify the client in writing of the outcome of the assessment. There is a long waitlist of approximately 10 years at the moment so it is important to provide Housing NSW accurate details of your current situation e.g. domestic violence. To be eligible for social housing, clients must:
1. Be a citizen or have permanent residency in Australia, and 
2. Be resident in New South Wales (NSW), and 
3. Establish their identity, and 
4. Have a household income within the income eligibility limits, and 
5. Not own any assets or property which could reasonably be expected to resolve their housing need, and 
6. Be able to sustain a successful tenancy, with or without support, and 
7. If applicable, make repayments of any former debts to a social housing provider, and 
8. In general, be at least 18 years of age.

Private Rental Assistance
To access Private Rental Assistance, households must meet the relevant eligibility criteria and Housing NSW will determine if you are eligible.  If you are not eligible they may refer you to other services, such as the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program, rehabilitation services and supported housing, or consider eligibility for other types of housing assistance. For more information on eligibility for Rentstart or Private Rental Assistance, see the Rentstart Assistance Policy or the Private Rental Assistance Policy.

Existing Tenancies
When an existing social housing tenant applies for a transfer, they must:
1. Be able to show that their circumstances have changed and that their current property or location is no longer suitable for their housing needs. 
2. Be able to show that moving will resolve or improve their current situation.
3. Provide the required documentation or evidence to support their application. Agencies who you’ve made contact with can provide this Letter of Support.
For more information on transfer eligibility, see the Changing a Tenancy Policy. There have been instances where tenants have located another tenant that they can engage in a transfer with.

How to Apply
1. Call 1800 422 322 to apply for housing assistance.
2. Choose a time to call between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
3. A series of questions will be asked so that your situation and your needs can be assessed. Also have your Medicare and Centrelink numbers so that they can confirm your identity easily to help speed up your application. 

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In this modern day and age it is important to think about how mobiles or computers can assist or make our lives difficult.  Cyberstalking is now quite common and should be seen like traditional stalking except that it is done through emails or the internet and social media like TWITTER or FACEBOOK. If you are concerned about someone who might be monitoring you through these mediums you may need to do the following:

Keeping Safe on Your Mobile Phone and Internet
1.  Make sure your phone locks after a short period of time and that you have engaged a pin code to access your phone.
2.  Turn off the “Location” function on your phone or only turn it on when you need it on. 
3.  Clear your browser history after you have finished on the Internet. Alternatively, select the “Private” function on your browser before using the Internet.
4.  Beware of Caller ID Spoofing. This is a service provided to change the caller ID to any other number. Always make sure you know who you are receiving a text message from. 
5. Have your device and/or motor vehicle checked for GPS tracking. You can ask for assistance from your local police or a trusted mechanic. Other items that could include GPS tracking are cameras and computer tablets or laptops.

Keeping Safe on Social Media
To access Private Rental Assistance, households must meet the relevant eligibility criteria and Housing NSW will determine if you are eligible. If you are not eligible they may refer you to other services, such as the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program, rehabilitation services and supported housing, or consider eligibility for other types of housing assistance. For more information on eligibility for Rentstart or Private Rental Assistance, see the Rentstart Assistance Policy or the Private Rental Assistance Policy.

Existing Tenancies
When an existing social housing tenant applies for a transfer, they must:
1. Ensure you regularly visit your privacy settings to ensure they are set up to achieve maximum privacy. 
2. Consider using a profile picture that is not identifying (your photo will identify you), e.g. a flower or a random dog (that is not your pet)
3. Consider using a different city as your location and not including your place of work or schooling.
4. Avoid “checking in” at places you go, especially your home and work place.
5. Ensure you know the person you are friending, following or linking in with. Ask yourself if this is a real person?
6. Avoid posting photos of the front of your house, your street sign or the number of your house which can identify where you live. Remember to be careful about what is in the background of your photo. 
7. Talk to family and friends who frequent your home and ask them to assist you by not tagging themselves or posting unsafe photos.
8. Be mindful of your status update and what is disclosed.

If in doubt keep a log. Save the messages or ask your support agency or police to download the messages for you. Please note that most support agencies can only keep your history for specified amount of time.
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