In 2014, one woman per week reportedly lost her life as a result of family violence. Sadly, in 2015 that statistic has doubled. Safe Steps Family Violence Centre is a social-change organisation that actively contributes to the prevention of violence against women and their children. It ensures their voices are captured and heard, and provides them with the support they need.

Based in Victoria, Safe Steps is the auspice organisation for statewide crisis lines across Australia, namely the Domestic and Family Violence Crisis Lines of Australia Network. This enables the collection of data nationally on the number of women accessing domestic violence crisis line services and provides a solid basis for safe steps to work from.

Safe Steps receives approximately 55,000 calls per year, which is an average of 150 calls per day. In peak times, one call is answered every three minutes. Collectively, crisis lines across Australia receive 500-plus calls daily, and family violence costs the Australian economy $13.6 billion. As a 24/7 central responder, safe steps knows that the work it does is crucial. In addition to its immediate response line, it also offers services such as risk assessment, emergency accommodation, safety planning, support, information, advocacy, and referral.

CEO Annette Gillespie is passionate about the cause and has been the leader of Safe Steps for the past three years. She has been working hard to try to end domestic violence for more than two decades, and saw the potential in safe steps for it to be a strong influencer of social change. “Safe Steps is the Victorian statewide first responder to women and their children needing support, advocacy, and immediate safe accommodation,” she says.

“Safe Steps is the Victorian statewide first responder to women and their children needing support, advocacy, and immediate safe accommodation.” – Annette Gillespie

“My role provides the perfect balance of influencing social change while still staying connected to the individuals who seek our support. I am incredibly proud to work with such an important organisation. Safe Steps has a 40-year history of service delivery and influence in eliminating violence against women and their children. We are inclusive of all women and children regardless of socio-economic circumstances, ethnicity, faith, geographic location, and education. We are particularly proud of our response to women with disabilities, women with high and complex needs, and women who are further disadvantaged because they do not have permanent residency status.

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