NSW Domestic Violence hotline: 1800 656 463
Call 24/7 for information, support and help including immediate accommodation
Or contact Domestic Violence NSW through their website if you cannot risk calling at https://www.dvnsw.org.au/about/contact/
This website has an escape button if you need to get off the page quickly.
Domestic Violence during COVID-19
Domestic violence support is still available during the pandemic.
We are experiencing a public health emergency like we have never seen before. In Australia we are being asked to stay in our homes to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and minimise the number of deaths. But for victims of domestic violence there can be more danger inside their home.
Anecdotally, and from searches for domestic violence support on engines such as Google, we know that there has been an increase in domestic and family violence during the lockdown. With fewer opportunities to get away from a violent partner, it can be harder to stay safe or get support from family, friends or service providers.
While social distancing measures commenced in mid-March, the data for March 2020 shows no evidence of an increase in domestic violence in NSW; recorded incidents of DV-related assault for the month of March 2020 are equivalent with those for March 2019.
However, this does not mean that domestic and family violence has not increased. The pandemic may be making it harder for victims to report or seek help with the perpetrator always in the home.
Understanding Domestic Violence
Domestic and family violence occurs when someone who has a close personal relationship with you makes you feel afraid, powerless or unsafe. It can be physical but can also be emotional and psychological.
Anyone can experience domestic and family violence. It happens across communities, ages, cultures and sexes and can include:
- Physical Violence
- Sexual Violence
- Psychological / Emotional Abuse
- Financial Abuse
- Social Abuse
- Cultural / Spiritual Abuse
- Verbal Abuse
- Technology Facilitated Abuse
On average, in Australia one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner and since January 2018 136 women have been killed through domestic violence.
The Central Coast has consistently had high rates of domestic and family violence and this is not something we are proud of. We all need to play a part in ending this.
What is Council doing?
Central Coast Council will continue to work with local non-government and government organisations to implement various community strategies to end domestic violence on the Central Coast. Some actions to date include:
- Campaigns to educate our younger generation on positive relationships.
- Community campaigns on changing behaviours and language towards women
- Education on how and when to intercept if you are a witness to domestic violence.
- An active partner with our community and local organisations in domestic violence awareness initiatives including activities throughout the 16 Days of Activism.
During this time of COVID-19, Council has developed a funding program that local service providers can access to help meet the rising demands of supporting our vulnerable communities such as victims of domestic violence.
We will also continue to disseminate awareness campaigns and messaging to the community through Council’s social media outlets.
This is in-line with two of the recommendations that were provided by the UN to increase investment in services and organisations to combat domestic violence and scale up public awareness campaigns.
We will continue to work with local organisations and businesses on creating safer ways during this time for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers.
What can you do to help someone in a domestic violence situation?
Check in on the people in your life through a phone call, text message or drop in if applying social distancing restrictions. Listen and believe what they say and take their fears seriously.
You could be part of their safety plan and help with anything they may need when they are ready to leave such as providing transport to a safe place for them.
Find out what support is available for domestic violence victims and provide the contact details of these available services where they can get help.
The NSW Government Communities and Justice website provide a detailed resource on how you can help someone you know that is going through a domestic violence situation. This information can be found at https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/domestic-violence/my-situation/i-want-to-help-someone
Call 000 if they are in immediate danger.
Domestic Violence Victims
If you are a victim of domestic violence and in immediate danger ring 000.
It is important to know there are services available to help.
- Contact the 24/7 NSW Domestic Violence hotline on 1800 656 463 for information, support and help including immediate accommodation.
- Contact Domestic Violence NSW through their website if you cannot risk calling at https://www.dvnsw.org.au/about/contact/
This site has an escape button if you need to get off the page quickly.
We understand sometimes, just leaving is not a safe option. Depending on your circumstances, some tips for keeping safe during this time may be to:
- Seek out and connect with supportive people. Reach out (via text, call, email, social media) to connect with those who you trust, listen to you without judgement, and build you up.
- If you have trustworthy neighbours tell them about the violence. Ask them to call the police if they hear or see any disturbance.
- Devise a code word or signal to use with your children, family, friends and trustworthy neighbours when you need the police.
- Teach your children how to use the telephone to call 000 and when to call 000 and how to say the address.
- Rehearse an escape plan so it is easier to expedite in an emergency without having to think too much.
- If you have access to a mobile, keep it charged and somewhere you can access it at all times.
Remember to be kind to yourself. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and things are not operating as they normally do. You are particularly under a lot of pressure if you live with the abuser. Be gentle with yourself, as this is unchartered territory. It is normal to feel anxious and concerned at this time.
If you would like more information on what supports are available for you, the NSW Government, Communities and Justice website lists a range of useful services and programs that you can access for help. For more information visit https://coronavirus.dcj.nsw.gov.au/services/domestic-and-family-violence#findingsafeplace