Fears domestic violence support needs will rise
As more people are forced to work from home, and others may be made redundant, family and domestic violence organisations are becoming increasingly concerned about the ramifications for families that will be put under emotional and financial stress.
The advice to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19 means women in abusive relationships are trapped.
Domestic violence increases in communities that experience natural disasters, which can be attributed to stress factors such as loss of housing or unemployment experienced during and after the disaster.
Perpetrators might feel a loss of control during the chaos of a disaster, which can be followed by the use of abusive behaviour to gain control within interpersonal relationships.
Domestic violence that is ongoing before or during a disaster can also be exacerbated.
Research demonstrates that there is a significant relationship between being exposed to natural disasters and an increase in violence against women and girls, including rape, intimate partner violence and child abuse.
It is during times of stress that those at risk of family violence are likely to be most in danger so it is imperative that these women and children have the support that they need to enable them to get to a safe place if required.
The Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre has mobilised its workforce to provide support during this critical period.
The service will continue to deliver case management, counselling and early intervention services, via telephone and online platforms.
If you or anyone you know needs help, please call:
Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24/7)
Safe Steps: Family Violence Response Centre (24/7)
The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre Geelong
The Health and Wellbeing Pillar works collaboratively with key health services in the G21 region to deliver a primary prevention focus on violence against women.
Last month the group released a toolkit targeting people in the Geelong, Bellarine and Colac areas to promote clearer and more effective communication on preventing violence against women.