Domestic family violence support

Through a suite of Safety and Prevention programs, Barnardos provides tailored support for children and their families impacted by domestic and family violence (DFV).

Providing wraparound support services to children and families

As an organisation, we are child focused in our approach and we provide integrated programs and services to ‘wrap around’ families and support them through the trauma caused by domestic and family violence. The approach is child-focused, multi-faceted and evidence-informed.

At Barnardos, it’s one of our primary goals to become a Domestic Violence Informed organisation and in addition to that, to also become Domestic Violence Proficient in all that we do. This will ensure we can meet the urgent and specific needs of the communities where we support children, young people and families who have experienced DFV.


Our domestic and family violence support services

Domestic Violence Program

Barnardos works with families that have experienced or are experiencing domestic and/or family violence and have children living at home. The service works with families to identify their needs and strengths to provide tailored support for each family member. The support is reviewed every three months and is designed to empower families to make long-term meaningful changes.

The aim of the program is to keep children safe, reduce parental stress and strengthen families.

The service provides: Home visiting, Safety planning, Domestic violence education, Court support, Parenting support and education, Budgeting and household management, Practical assistance and coordination of specialist assessments and referrals, Group work, Referrals to programs within Barnardos.

Learn to Live Again
– Women’s DFV Support Group 

This is an eight-week program delivered in a group setting (meeting once per week) designed for mothers who have experienced Domestic and Family Violence (DFV).

A therapeutic style group, rather than a psychoeducational group, this helps women identify the skills they have within to cope with and heal from trauma.

The group helps reconnect women to themselves, their bodies, their family and to the community around them.

The group aims to heal and strengthen the bond between women and their children, and in turn provide a platform for women to support their children’s experiences of lived trauma.

DFV Phone Support

LINKER is an after-hours telephone support service for women in Western NSW who have left Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) situations. It proactively offers telephone and text message support to women (and most often their children) who have accessed emergency short-term accommodation as the result of leaving a DFV environment.

The LINKER worker proactively contacts the client by phone and offers personalised and consistent support as required during their time of crisis and transition through homelessness to post-crisis stability, at times of the day and week when there are few, if any other forms of support available.

LINKER offers flexible out of hours phone contact (5pm-9am every day of the week) from a specialist DFV worker to clients referred by emergency accommodation providers. Clients particularly value the LINKER Service capacity for phone-based support from another town, allowing for a more anonymous relationship, thus respecting confidentiality concerns, which can be challenging in small communities.

Safe and Together™

The Safe and Together™ Model is an internationally recognised suite of tools and interventions designed to help child and family support workers become DFV–informed.

This child-centred model derives its name from the concept that children are best served when we can work toward keeping them safe and together with the non-offending parent (the adult domestic violence survivor). The model provides a framework for partnering with DFV survivors and intervening with perpetrators in order to enhance the safety and well-being of children.

Right across our agency, in every program and every support role, we are seeking to embed a Safe and Together ‘lens’ or approach in how we respond to and work alongside of families, children and young people who are survivors and resistors of Domestic and Family Violence (DFV).

Educating children
and young people

Barnardos facilitates ‘Love Bites’ respectful relationship programs for young people aged 11-17 years.

Love Bites is based on best practice standards for education programs as recommended by the Federal Government funded Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearing House and other leading academics in the area of violence against women.

Therapeutic groups and
education programs

Barnardos facilitates therapeutic groups for women and children who have experienced domestic and family violence.

They are usually groups that are facilitated over 6-8 weeks and look at resilience and healing from DFV. These include Learn to Live Again, Book of Me, and Out of the Darkness.

Barnardos also conduct eight-week education awareness group programs called Healthy Relationships which explore what domestic violence is and how it impacts on children. These groups are run in Penrith and Auburn.

Watch Tegan’s journey to safety

Play Video

Tegan’s story

Warning: This video contains descriptions of domestic violence.
“The relationship was 12 months, and I would say the violence went for that long as well. I had bruises on my neck from him choking me over a baby name. I had bruises up my arms from him holding me down and pulling me around the room after he threw me into the wall. He didn’t call an ambulance, and I was seven and a half months pregnant.”


“One of the thought processes I had at the time was that the children were either asleep or with their dad when it was happening. But it still affects them. Like why is mommy crying, why have we left our other home, why has he kept all our things, when do we would get our things back.”

Barnardos supported Tegan and her children to find safety and rebuild their lives.

“These women believed me. I had been told I was crazy for 12 months, and they believed me and they knew what I was talking about and helped me identify the behavioral traits he had been presenting with that linked the behavior to domestic violence which helped me make sense of some of the things I was struggling with at the time.”

Tegan is now living in a safe home with her children an studying psychology. She is telling her story to bring an end to domestic violence.

“I wouldn’t be where I am now without it. In hindsight, I probably would have gone back to him because I was scared, and their was the fact that we had a child together and the stuff that went on during that time frame it would have been easier to go back to him. But I’ve done the hard thing and I haven’t gone back. We get to be safe and stay safe and that cycle ends with him.”

If you experience any distress while reading this report and would like to speak to a professional, please contact your health practitioner (such as your GP or a professional counsellor) or call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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