Quick Exit
With Respect is not a crisis response service. For crisis responses phone:
  • 000 Victoria Police for immediate safety
  • 1800 RESPECT family violence and sexual assault 24-hour telephone support
  • 1800 015 188 Safe Steps Victoria available 24 hours for crisis support for women
To leave this site quickly, click the quick exit button.

Police and the justice system

It is critical people call 000 if they are in immediate danger. The police have a responsibility to take immediate action to protect life and property, and support anyone experiencing violence or the threat of violence.

Police have wide ranging powers to deal with family violence. They can conduct searches of people and residences to ensure the safety of the parties involved. Police can too, refer a person experiencing violence to support services. Police can also arrest people for criminal offences, detain someone who is using violence against another person and issue a Family Violence Safety Notice to bring someone before the court. A court can then impose a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) to impose conditions on the person committing violence.

People experiencing family violence can also apply for an FVIO directly to the Magistrates’ Court. This can be done either online, or in person at a court where a registrar can assist, and does not have to involve the police.

See Legal Aid for more information on Family Violence Safety Notices and Family Violence Intervention Orders.

If it is not an emergency, someone experiencing family violence can call or attend their local police station to report threats, abuse and violence. LGBTIQ Liaison Officers (GLLOs) are designated officers within Victoria Police who are trained to assist LGBTIQ people with a broad range of issues including family violence. Victoria Police GLLOs can assist by providing discreet, non-judgmental advice and assistance in the reporting of crimes, including where someone is the target of prejudice or hatred based on their sexuality or gender identity. GLLOs can support people to work out the most suitable process for reporting the matter, and can provide expert advice and assistance to police investigators. More information, including the list of GLLOs and their contact numbers, is available on the Victoria Police website.

Please note that GLLOs are not available at every police station and are not available 24 hours a day.

Practice considerations

Research shows some LGBTIQ victim/survivors distrust police and are cautious about seeking help. This is due to a history of trauma and violence enacted by police against LGBTIQ people, and a history of poor or discriminatory responses. For example, the 2008 Coming Forward survey conducted in Victoria found only 6% of LGBTIQ participants who reported intimate partner violence to police were referred on to further support services.

This historical distrust is a key barrier for LGBTIQ people engaging with police and seeking help for family violence. LGBTIQ people may have concerns about reporting violence to the police, so support from others might be needed. Some concerns might be:

  • Their experience of violence may not be believed or validated (for example where a victim is male-identified);
  • Their relationships may not be recognised or respected;
  • Their personal information and details of their sexuality, gender and/or biological sex characteristics may be disclosed inappropriately;
  • There are no services to meet their needs;
  • The police may be homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, intersexphobic;
  • The custody of their children may be questioned if they have unconventional family structures or roles.

There is considerable work being done within Victoria Police to address these issues, and there are specific roles and programs within Victoria Police which have been designed to improve the response to LGBTIQ people — notably the GLLOs.