Family violence during COVID-19: There have been many fears in the community that family violence has likely increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it may go unreported. Aside from the fact that being in lockdown may exacerbate abuse simply due to the greater proximity and time spent with an abuser, it’s also well established that abusers often use isolation as a tool to control their victims.
It’s also understood that it’s not a simple matter of telling victims to “just leave” and therefore many will continue to live alongside their abuser during these difficult times. It may not even be a matter of choice: during lockdown, it has become even harder for people to decide to leave a relationship, as our liberty to travel freely has been restricted, and others have suffered job losses meaning economic hardship has made moving and leaving a relationship more difficult. So how can the home be made a safer place in the context of family violence during COVID-19? Support service Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) has put together an informative article on enhancing safety within the home during the pandemic, and we encourage you to visit their site to learn more about:
- How to make your home situation safer, in practical, un-sugarcoated terms
- How to be prepared at all times in case you find yourself in a violent situation
- What to do during a physical assault at home
- How to prepare children for keeping safe if arguments or assaults occur at home and how to ensure they have a plan about what to do if they feel unsafe
- How to maintain social connections and avoid isolation during isolation
- And how to practice self care.
If you have a loved one who may be experiencing family violence during COVID-19, also check out the DVCS page Supporting Someone. There’s a great deal of useful information there on the best ways to give support and help your loved one become safer. You may even be wondering if your friend or loved one is in fact in an abusive relationship, so find out the common tell-tale signs, then explore the available choices for getting help for your friend or loved one—and it’s also important to remember you can get support for yourself as a support person too.
You might also like to check out the DVCS FAQ page. You’ll find it covers just about all the questions you might have surrounding family violence, including:
- how to recognise it,
- why people don’t “just leave”,
- how to protect yourself from being stalked electronically,
- how you can be helped even if you don’t want to leave the relationship,
- what to do if you want to leave the relationship,
- how to survive financially,
- what to do about shared pets,
- what to expect from the Family Violence Order process,
- as well as find out all the ways that DVCS can help.
DVCS is a valuable service full of resources to help support children, young people and adults who are affected by family, domestic and intimate partner violence. There are resources both to help people experiencing violence and to help those perpetrating violence. These include:
- 24/7 Crisis Intervention Services and access to emergency accommodation
- Legal and court support and advocacy
- Men’s, women’s and children’s support programs, training and education
- Safety planning (including tech safety, protection orders, staying safe at home after a relationship has ended, preparing to leave the relationship, what to do if there’s an incident at home, and a safety planning checklist).
You can find lots of useful information on the DVCS website here.
Call 000 in an emergency. Alternatively you can call the Police Attendance Line on 131 444.
You can make contact with DVCS using one of the following methods:
- Phone the Crisis Line on (02) 62 800 900 to speak to someone straight away (available 24/7)
- Text/SMS to 0421 268 492 (monitored during business hours only)
- Email to email@example.com (monitored during business hours only)
- Use their confidential contact form: https://dvcs.org.au/contact/confidential-contact/ (monitored during business hours only)
- Or their online chat: https://dvcs.org.au/chat-process/ (monitored during business hours only)
- If you are outside the ACT, please call 1800RESPECT.
If you are experiencing a family violence situation, Alliance Family Law can assist you once you have chosen to take a legal course of action, whether this involves separation, divorce, custody arrangements for your children, or property settlements; as well as supporting you with any related criminal law or other legal matters through our network of referral companies. For advice, please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Family Law.