Domestic violence could spiral out-of-control
FRONTLINE domestic violence workers say they are already dealing with increased stress on family units with Australia bunkering down into social isolation.
Warrina Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services has experienced an increase in calls for assistance as COVID-19 forces a significant proportion of the population into social isolation, increasing pressure and stress on families.
Domestic and family violence already claims the life of one woman per week on average in Australia.
Services are concerned that this situation is set to get worse.
"We know that some homes will be extraordinarily dangerous and frightening, and people's usual support network, such as schools, work, friends and family will not be available," Warrina Domestic and Family Violence Services CEO Charlotte Young said.
"Social isolation is a tactic used in domestic and family violence by perpetrators, and this will make homes very unsafe for people in danger.
Across the Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Valley and Bellingen areas, frontline domestic and family violence workers are responding to families in crisis where stress, financial worries and general community uncertainty has intensified already volatile relationships.
"We want the community to know that we can work with women to develop a safety plan. This might involve coming up with a way to find safe accommodation if you need to leave due to domestic and family violence. Even in the event of self-isolation. You do not need to be trapped in an unsafe home."
"We also want men to know that if they are responding in ways that frighten their families, there are services that can assist. We want to make sure we can work with people to keep everyone safe," Charlotte says.
Warrina is continuing to provide services throughout this time and will be doing some of this work by phone and where safe, video conferencing.
Warrina provides a range of services including emergency housing support, safety planning, crisis response and court advocacy.
Alongside its work with women and children, Warrina provides services to men who use violence to develop strategies to cease their use of violence, deescalate risk and be safer men for their families.
"We are heartened by the number of community and neighbourhood groups that have emerged during this time.
"We are hoping that the community can also be alert to the increased risk of domestic violence and want the community to know we are here to assist as much as we can during this time."
WHERE CAN YOU GET HELP?
• 1800 RESPECT
• Menline 1300 78 99 78
• Men's Referral Service 1300766 491
• Links2Home 1800 152 152
• DV Crisis Line 1800 65 64 63
• Warrina Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services 66524000
• BETTERMAN Online resources
• DV Safety Planning online