The Federal Government has responded to calls for more help for domestic violence victims during the coronavirus outbreak. It has been troubling to see many organisations report an increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic.
In a report from Women’s Safety NSW, more than 40% of the support groups surveyed had experienced a dramatic increase in client numbers since the outbreak of COVID-19. More than a third of those surveyed stated that the instances of violence were specifically related to coronavirus. It is unfortunate, but likely, that these statistics will continue to rise in the immediate future.
Many people are currently experiencing increased stressors. These may include:
- financial pressures resulting from a loss of income
- general increase in anxiety
- adults being home together for much longer periods, placing a victim in a confined space with a perpetrator
- children being home from school and the pressures associated with parents assisting them with their learning.
Whilst none of these stressors are an excuse for domestic violence, the reality is that they are contributing to the increased rate of domestic violence we are currently seeing.
Considering the coronavirus outbreak, and the increase in demand for services related to domestic violence, the Federal Government announced that an initial $150 million will be provided to support Australians experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence due to the fallout from coronavirus.
The funding will boost programs under the National Plan to reduce Violence against Women and their Children including:
- Counselling support for families affected by, or at risk of experiencing, domestic and family violence including men’s behaviour change programs which will provide a short, medium- and longer-term response to support men.
- 1800RESPECT, the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling service, which already answers around 160,000 calls a year.
- Mensline Australia, the national counselling service for men that provides support for emotional health and relationship concerns for men affected by or considering using violence.
- Trafficked People Program to support particularly vulnerable cohorts such as victims of human trafficking, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices.
- Support programs for women and children experiencing violence to protect themselves to stay in their homes, or a home of their choice, when it is safe to do so.
You should not feel like you must stay in an abusive environment because of the coronavirus outbreak, or any other reason. We are available to assist in this process, including making an urgent application to the Court where required, to help with spousal maintenance and/or interim property settlements or parenting arrangements. Contact us to find out more.
If you have separated and need help gaining tips to manage family conflict, particularly where children are involved, RelationSpace are offering their program free for the month of April. Further information on the program and how to sign up can be found on the RelationSpace website.