Many people coming to Australia to reunite with their family or partner worry they might become victims of violence, which might jeopardise their plans to stay in the country. However, visa holders are fully protected from all forms of family and domestic violence, and they don’t have to fear their visa will be cancelled!
Identifying and Reporting Domestic Violence in Australia
Remember that any violent behaviour towards you, your family, pets or property can be considered as family or domestic violence. If you are experiencing violence at home, it is crucial that you know how to report it and who to ask for help. In the event of an emergency, you should call the Police on 000. If you have second thoughts because you are afraid reporting a perpetrator might lead to cancellation of your visa, don’t hesitate because this will not affect your status. The second step is to notify the Department of Home Affairs and seek assistance from service providers. You can do this by submitting the Form 1022, by contacting your processing officer or by calling 131 881. You can also complete the ‘Change in your situation’ form on the Department of Home Affairs website or send a letter to the office closest to you.
Seeking Help and Assistance
For anyone experiencing family and domestic violence, life can be quite challenging and traumatic. There are many agencies throughout Australia you can reach out to, to get help and assistance. If you need professional counselling, you can contact the National Sexual Assault at 1800RESPECT.org.au or phone 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or call Lifeline on 13 11 44. Should you require legal assistance, Family Violence Law Help is available 24/7, and you can reach them by calling 1800 737 732.
If you need an interpreter, you can contact the Translating & Interpreting Services (TIS National) on 131 450 (24 hours, 7 days).
The Department of Home Affairs can assist you by offering Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS). This program provides short-term help regarding your immigration status and visa problems. You might be eligible to get a grant or a substantive visa. However, make sure to inquire about eligibility criteria because holders of some visas might not be able to apply for this program.
What Happens with Your Visa?
For many individuals experiencing family and domestic violence, the burning issue is their unresolved immigration status. You might be wondering what happens if you have obtained a partner visa and you can no longer live with your spouse due to their violent behaviour. Firstly, you need to know that your current visa will not be cancelled if your relationship breaks up because of domestic violence. You can stay in Australia until it expires, and then apply for another one or, if you meet the criteria, apply for Australian citizenship. The Department of Home Affairs is determined to help victims of family and domestic violence! You might be eligible for the SRSS program or, there might be another solution that is more appropriate for your particular situation. Additionally, the government has special funds dedicated to providing emergency relief to holders of temporary visas who might have urgent needs.
To find out more about ways the Department of Home Affairs can help you deal with this problem, visit https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/family-violence-and-your-visa