Domestic Violence and Covid-19
These are unprecedented times. We are witnessing and possibly experiencing widespread job loss and isolation. As people do their best to cope with the changes around them, this has been accompanied by a surge in domestic violence.
Those who are already vulnerable to family violence are spending increased time at home, away from any support from their colleagues, friends and the community.
In China, incidents of family violence tripled in the month of February during the lockdown. In Australia, there has been an increase in the number of google searches looking for support services.
Below is an outline of some of the avenues still available to victims in Western Australia, during the COVID 19 pandemic:
The Courts are still operating, whether it is via telephone, in-person or video conference. If you are a victim of family violence, we urge you to speak with one of our lawyers who is very experienced in this area. Our lawyers can help you to apply for a Family Violence Restraining Order, which can protect you and your children and place restrictions on the perpetrator of family violence.
The Government has announced that they will be allocating $150 million to the national domestic violence initiative.
Most services are still operating during the pandemic, with many solely ensuring social distancing measures are in place, such as conducting most appointments by telephone. Some of the support services currently available are:
- The Department of Communities Women’s helpline. This is a 24-hour service providing support and counselling for women in WA experiencing family and domestic violence;
- Centrecare, which offers individual, couples or family counselling services;
- 1800 RESPECT Counselling service, which is a 24-hour helpline for people in urgent need of help; and
- The 1800 RESPECT Daisy app, which is an application to help you to find domestic violence services in your area.
One of the fears when leaving an abusive relationship is having no accommodation. This fear may be heightened during this time because the country is in lockdown.
In order to combat homelessness during the pandemic, the Government has commenced a one-month trial of the ‘Hotels With Heart’ programme. Twenty homeless people will be housed at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth. If successful, this programme will expand and be available to victims of domestic violence.
We want you to know that, even in this time of global crisis, help is available. Please be proactive in asking for it. Our team of experienced and compassionate lawyers can support you to do this.
Wendy Starling on Thursday, 02 April 2020 02:24
This topic is very concerning but it's great to be informed and know that there is help and support available.