Leaving Home

You might decide it is best to leave the place you live for a while. You could go to a friend or family member’s place, a low cost hostel or backpackers, a hotel, or emergency housing through the Department of Housing (Housing NSW)

In general, to be eligible for Housing NSW, you will need to be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia and live in NSW. You must also be within the Housing NSW income and asset limits and be able to successfully sustain a tenancy either independently or with appropriate support.

All women (including transgender women) and children have the right to safely access domestic violence specialist services including refuges. Housing NSW also has emergency, short and longer-term accommodation for men. To find out more about housing support options, call the DV Line (1800 65 64 63) or Link2home 1800 152 152.

If you decide that you need to find a new place to live there are a number of options including moving in with friends or family or, if you can afford it, finding a private rental property.

LGBTIQ people escaping domestic and family violence may apply for housing assistance from the NSW Department of Housing (Housing NSW). Apart from emergency accommodation Housing NSW has a number of other programs, including priority housing and RentStart that you may be eligible to apply for.

For more information contact your nearest Housing NSW office or visit www.housing.nsw.gov.au.

Money and Property

It is important to protect your money, finances and property interests when you leave an abusive relationship. If your partner knows your PIN or the details of your bank accounts, you can talk to your bank about changing the details. If you have joint accounts or credit cards, contact your bank and talk to them about protecting your share of the money and making sure your partner does not run up any debts in your name. If you are worried that your partner may sell or give away property without telling you, a court can make an urgent order to stop this happening until a final decision is made about your property. 

Abusive partners sometimes tell the victim that they have to stay in the relationship, or else they will have no rights to the property or finances. This is not necessarily true. When you are separating or have separated it is recommended that you seek legal advice about how the property may be divided. 

Property includes the family home, any other real estate, cash in bank accounts, cars and other vehicles, investments and superannuation entitlements. It includes household items, jewellery and tools. It is important to note that pets are considered property under the law. 

The same laws regarding settling (dividing) property apply to ex-partners who were married and those who were in a de facto relationship. 

If you were in a de facto relationship that lasted at least two years or you had a child together, you can make an application for a property settlement under the Family Law Act. You have two years from the date of separation to make an application to the court regarding your property settlement. 

If you were married and you have divorced you have twelve months from the date of the divorce to make an application to the court regarding your property settlement. It is a good idea to seek legal advice about property law settlements. 

It is sometimes a good idea to engage a solicitor to assist with your property law matter especially if you have experienced domestic or family violence. Lawyers generally seek to resolve property issues through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution rather than applying to the Court for property settlement orders. A general exception to this includes if there is some urgency or if there has been domestic or family violence such that alternate dispute resolution processes are not suitable. Contact the Inner City Legal Centre to make an appointment to speak with a solicitor or to be referred to a private solicitor with experience working in LGBTIQ domestic and family violence family law matters.