Domestic Violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: Raising Awareness and Providing Assistance
With an increase in working and studying from home, together with the restriction of social activities outside of the home and closure of many non-essential services due to social distancing measures, there have been concerns expressed that these restrictions will inadvertently lead to an increase in domestic or family violence within the family home, whether this is in the form of acts of physical abuse, sexual assault, or psychological harm against adults and/or serious neglect of children. There is a greater concern, that persons experiencing domestic or family violence may be further apprehensive in seeking assistance from community organisations.
The Federal Government has announced additional measures to help persons experiencing domestic or family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic by raising awareness through its Help is Here Campaign as well as providing extra funding to the Salvation Army and the Men’s Referral Service as a part of its Domestic Violence Support Package.
Help is Here Campaign
The Help is Here campaign aims to raise awareness to promote that violence and abuse against either women or men are never acceptable in our society, regardless of whether are people feeling an increase in stress or anxiety, or families are experiencing new financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign broadcasts this message to the community through a variety of media and print services, providing the contact information for the two key national services, which are in operation at all hours:
1. 1800RESPECT (tel: 1800 737 732) and www.1800respect.org.au
2. MensLine Australia (tel: 1300 789) and www.mensline.org.au
Through accessing either of the two national telephone services, persons are then directed to appropriate help by trained staff.
Salvation Army’s Keeping Women Safe in their Homes for its Safer in the Home program
This program aims to keep women and their children, who have experienced violence, in the family home, where it is safe and appropriate to do by implementing additional measures, such as installation of alarms, security screens and locks, conducting sweeps and de-bugging of cars and homes and phone security breach scanning.
The Federal Government’s grant of additional funding to this program will provide access to the service for up to 200 more women. Women accessing this service will be able to engage the Salvation Army to conduct home safety audits, risk assessment and safety planning, as well as home security upgrades.
Contact: Domestic Violence Line (tel: 1800 65 64 63) https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/need-help/family-and-domestic-violence/find-help-for-domestic-violence/#sith
If you are experiencing domestic or family violence, please seek urgent help from any of the appropriate community organisations available to you.
For emergencies, please contact the police (Tele: 000).
Source: Minister for Families and Social Services, Media Releases 3 May 2020 and 7 May 2020.
This publication is general information only and does not purport to provide legal advice. We do not accept responsibility for any losses for reliance upon this publication.