Melbourne Lawyers & Mediators continue to operate as usual during COVID-19. We are open to support people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.

COVID-19 is not an excuse for family violence. We are here to help you.

This guide will give you helpful information and contacts to support you and your family to manage changes due to COVID-19.

What is Family Violence?

Family violence is harmful behaviour by a person to their family members. It includes being violent, abusive, controlling or causing fear. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, social or financial. It can also include damaging property. For children, it includes seeing, hearing or being exposed to this behaviour.

Controlling behaviours might increase during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Staying home and social distancing are not an excuse for using controlling behaviour.

 

Can I get help with family violence?

Yes. Melbourne Lawyers & Mediators continue to have solicitors appear at the Magistrates’ Courts around Victoria to protect you and your family.

High risk family violence intervention orders (FVIOs) will continue to be heard by the court as a matter of priority.

 

Is my hearing still going ahead?

Many court hearings have been adjourned due to COVID-19. To find out if your case is still being heard at the original hearing date, you can contact the Magistrates’ Court by phone or email or contact our office on 1800 99 31 32 for assistance.

 

Do I need to attend court?

You should usually go to court if you have a hearing for a family violence safety notice or intervention order.. The courts are changing the way they conduct hearings in response to COVID-19 and you may not need to attend. Please contact our office on 1800 99 31 32 or your lawyer to find out if you are required to attend court.

 

Is it safe to attend court?

The court has also made several changes to protect your safety. Changes include:

  • Talking to your practitioner on the phone rather than in person;
  • Using video link technology so you don’t need to go into the courtroom; and
  • Having your matter heard by phone rather than in person (where appropriate).

 

What if I can’t attend court for a FVIO application or hearing?

That is fine. Arrangements will be made so that you can participate in court hearings via phone.

 

Will I still have access to interpreter services?

Yes. The courts will continue to arrange interpreters to be available by phone and video conference.

 

What does it mean if my case is adjourned?

If your case is adjourned, it means that it will be heard at a later date by a Magistrate. The court will contact you to update you if your matter is adjourned.

 

Coronavirus and respondents accused of family violence

If you are accused of family violence during COVID-19, we remain available to assist in your matter. Please contact our office on 1800 99 31 32 for a confidential discussion regarding your rights and obligations, whether you can see your children and how you can seek help.

We understand that coronavirus is stressful for everyone, however it is not an excuse for abusing family members or making them feel unsafe.

If you have any questions or would like a friendly confidential chat, please contact our office on 1800 99 31 32 or email [email protected]

We are here to support you.

Helplines

  1. 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  2. 1800 015 188 to reach Safe Steps, a 24/7 family violence response phone line.
  3. The Police on 000
  4. For help and legal advice, contact our office on 1800 99 31 32 or email [email protected]