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Now that most of us our confined to our homes for the foreseeable future, we need to pay attention to the relationships we have with those around us. If you haven’t already, make sure you talk to each other about how you’re going to manage a prolonged period of isolation and confinement. Talking, discussion, compromise, negotiating problems and disagreements, giving each other time and space – these can all make life easier, reduce conflict, bring us closer together, and help us get through this difficult time.

Unfortunately, most sexual and physical abuses occur in relationships, and confinement can heighten risks. Many of our usual supports may be unavailable at the moment, so it’s important to know what you can do to get help, if you are anxious or afraid.

Whatever difficulties we are facing, of confinement, money worries, fears for the future etc. – there is never an excuse for abusive behaviour.

If someone is treating you badly, it isn’t your fault, whatever they are telling you. There wasn’t an excuse before this crisis, and there isn’t one now. The responsibility always rests with the person being abusive.

If someone you are living is currently causing you harm, call the police. They are available 24/7. Family violence courts are open and intervention orders are still possible at this time.

If you know one of your friends may be suffering physical or sexual harm, please offer them support, or inform them of the contacts listed below.

If you are at immediate risk, call 000

If you are experiencing violence, or are anxious about the behaviour of a partner or friend, here are some numbers you can call:

1800 Respect – National confidential information, counselling and support service
Phone 1800 737 732 NRS: 1800 555 677 Interpreter: 13 14 50
Or load this app, which has advice on safety, and services in your area

University of Melbourne Safer Communities Program
Phone: +61 3 9035 8675
Email: safer-community@unimelb.edu.au

If you are experiencing sexual harm, contact the Centres Against Sexual Assault To contact any CASA and the after-hours Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) 1800 806 292
Email ahcasa@thewomens.org.au

If you’re concerned about your own behaviour, or you are already causing harm to others, seek help. The Men’s Referral Service is a men’s family violence telephone counselling, information and referral service operating in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania and is the central point of contact for men taking responsibility for their violent behaviour. We also provide support and referrals for women and men seeking information on behalf of their male partners, friends or family members, and workers in a range of agencies seeking assistance for their clients who are men.
Phone 1300 766 49 (24 hours – NSW & Tas / 8am-9pm weekdays & 9am-6pm weekends – all other states)
Live web chat – 8am-9pm weekdays

If you need any further advice, you can also contact the UMSU Sexual Harm Response Coordinator