Domestic and family violence— a form of violent, abusive or bullying behaviour — remains a major trigger, pushing many single parents with children to leave their homes, often with no support and nowhere else to go.

Although instances of DFV predominantly impact women, approximately 6% of men have experienced violence by a previous partner.1

Fleeing an abusive wife: Brice’s story

Brice is a 43-year-old single father who had escaped a family violence situation with his mother when he was young. Brice had a history of alcohol and drug use, engagement with the criminal justice system and had struggled with aggression.

After his first marriage ended he lost contact with his young son. He married again and had a son with his second wife, who was heavily dependent on drugs. He lived with his wife and son in social housing and often had to ask his mother for financial support.

Often when he came home from work, Brice found his son alone and with bruising that his wife couldn’t explain. To prevent his wife from taking their son with her when she went to buy drugs at night, Brice began sleeping in the same room as his son. 

I felt like I had to protect our son from his own mum. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.Brice

Brice desperately wanted to help his wife address her addiction, but couldn’t seem to make a difference. Feeling he had done all he could to keep their family safely together, Brice took his son and moved in with his mother. He was later granted full custody of their son.

Did you know that approximately 6.1% of men (548,000) have experienced violence by a previous partner?1

Even after leaving the situation with his ex-wife, she and her friends continued to threaten and harass him. Brice obtained a police order against his ex-wife, but that did not end the harassment. At this point, Brice felt he had few options left and decided to move interstate. Although he was now a great distance away, he still struggled and found it hard to find safe and secure accommodation for himself and his son.

After getting in touch with Mission Australia, Brice was able to secure transitional housing and gained access to mental health support and a range of other services including financial support. Brice was recently approved for a social housing property. Finally, after all they have been through, Brice and his son feel settled, safe and optimistic about the future.

Read more stories about domestic and family violence.

Domestic and family violence can tear families apart

Violence or abuse at home can force people, parents and children to leave an unsafe environment with little support and nowhere to go. Last year, around 108,000 (37%) of people who received support from specialist homelessness services also experienced family and domestic violence. Around half of them were living as a single parent with one or more children. 2

No one should experience the detrimental effects of homelessness or DFV alone. We are committed to helping vulnerable families with access to timely and appropriate support, crisis accommodation, and safe and affordable housing.

Your donation today can provide a vulnerable family with the support they need to thrive.

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Know someone affected by domestic and family violence?

If you are experiencing abuse or violence it is not your fault. There are support services that can help you. If your life is in danger, call 000. For 24/7 domestic violence counselling call the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

Where to get help

Acknowledging that one of your relationships may be unhealthy or potentially harmful can be overwhelming to cope on your own. It can also be difficult to see the bigger context when trying to look at a relationship outside of our own lens. Whether it’s a relationship you need help navigating, a behaviour you want to change or advice to support a loved one involved in an unhealthy relationship, reach out to:

  • If your life is in danger, contact emergency services on 000 immediately.

Names and images have been changed to protect the identity of the people we help.
1AIHW (2017), Specialist homelessness services annual report, 2020
2 AIHW (2022), Specialist homelessness services annual report 2021–22

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