If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000 for Police and Ambulance


What is abuse?

Domestic and family violence, and elder abuse, can take many forms. It isn’t just physical. Abuse can also be psychological, social, sexual, spiritual or financial, to name just a few types. It can also be threats, control and coercion.

Abuse can happen to anyone. It is not restricted to a particular ‘type’ of person. It can occur in any economic situation, to anyone of any gender or sexuality, any race, any religion, and more.

Abuse is defined by 1800RESPECT as ‘a pattern of behaviour, to gain power and control’.

What is domestic and family violence?

Domestic violence is typically abusive behaviour between 2 people in (or previously in) an intimate relationship.

Family violence is abusive behaviour between people in a relationship which is broader than that of an intimate partner, such as between relatives, guardians, kinship or family groups, flat mates, friends, and carers or other support workers. There is usually a relationship (or co-habitation) between the people involved.

To quote 1800RESPECT, “Domestic and family violence are never ok.”

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the police on 000.

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an act (or acts) which is caused by someone an older person expected to be able to trust, that harms or distresses that older person. It can also be a lack of action that harms or distresses and older person, where action should have been taken by someone they trust.

Just like domestic and family violence, elder abuse can include many different types of abuse, including physical, psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect.

Elder abuse can also include financial abuse. That is often the theft or other misappropriation of an older person’s money or other assets.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is just one type of domestic/family violence and elder abuse. This type of abuse uses money, assets or other property as a weapon.

Some examples include the theft of a person’s money or assets, misuse of a person’s money or other assets, withholding money from a person, forcing a person to take out loans they don’t want or stopping a person from accepting a job.

1800RESPECT has a Financial Abuse Support Toolkit to help you understand what financial abuse is, what it feels like and steps to take.

Many banks also have information about how they may be able to support you if you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse. Speak to your bank or search their website for more information.

Visit 1800RESPECT

What support is available?


If you or someone else is in danger, call 000 immediately.

You can call 1800 RESPECT. They provide confidential information, counselling and support services. 1800 RESPECT are contactable by phone, text or by online chat or video calls. You can contact them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone, text on online chat. Their video calls are available in business hours*, with no appointment needed.

Contact details for 1800 RESPECT

Their website also has information about what to expect when you contact them and many excellent resources.

* Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (Australian Eastern time), except national public holidays.


Financial support services

1800 RESPECT has resources on the kinds of financial support that may be available in the event of abuse.


The Escaping Violence Payment

Uniting Care administer the Escaping Violence Payment. You can reach out to them for more information about the program, eligibility and how to apply for a payment.

Escaping Violence Payment

How can my super help?

There are certain, restricted conditions that could allow you to access some of your super early.

Severe Financial Hardship

If you are in a state of severe financial hardship, you can apply for a payment of up to $10,000 gross (before tax). However, you must have been receiving a Commonwealth income support payment continuously for at least the last 26 weeks. You will also need to satisfy the ElectricSuper Trustee that you are not able to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses. You can apply for a release from your super under financial hardship once in any 12-month period.

If you have reached your preservation age, there are different conditions. That is, that you need to have reached your preservation age plus 39 weeks, you need to have been receiving Commonwealth income support payments for a cumulative period of 39 weeks since you reached preservation age and you are unemployed (or employed for less than 10 hours a week) at the time of your application.

Compassionate Grounds

There are also conditions where you may be able to access some of your superannuation under ‘Compassionate Grounds’. These include, amongst other limited conditions, preventing foreclosure or forced sale of your home. You can read more about the conditions of accessing your super under compassionate grounds on the ATO website (it is the ATO who administers this type of early access and, if you are eligible to apply, you need to apply through them).

Nobody should coerce you to access your super against your wishes.

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Please note

We are not experts in providing support for those experiencing domestic and family violence or elder abuse. We recommend that, if you are experiencing domestic or family violence or elder abuse, you reach out to the organisation that can best support you in your situation.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the Police on 000.

1800 RESPECT https://www.1800respect.org.au/
Lifeline www.lifeline.org.au
Relationships Australia https://www.relationships.org.au/
Men’s Referral Service http://www.ntv.org.au/get-help
13 YARN www.13yarn.org.au
Compass (Elder Abuse Hotline) www.compass.info
National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline https://www.jobaccess.gov.au/complaints/hotline
Blueknot https://blueknot.org.au/
Sikh Helpline http://sikhhelpline.com.au/about-us/

We have not included phone numbers for these organisations here, as the best contact numbers may change. The websites listed are checked quarterly and therefore more likely to be an up-to-date resource for you.

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