Family violence during COVID-19
Research suggests that COVID-19 lockdowns have increased the potential for abuse and family violence. Family violence includes behaviour that is physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, or economically abusive. It also includes threatening or coercive behaviour, and other controlling or dominating behaviour that causes a family member to fear for their safety and well-being or that of another family member.
The Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre recently published a report entitled ‘Responding to the ‘Shadow Pandemic’’ that included some staggering results relating to the reporting of family violence to practitioners:
· 60% of practitioners reported increased frequency of violence against women
· 50% of practitioners reported increased severity of violence
· 42% increase in first-time family violence reports
Stay-at-home orders relating to Covid-19 might have limited and complicated a victim’s ability to seek help and report violence. According to the report, one of the biggest challenges for responding to the risk of violence is developing alternative practices to direct face-to face provision and support. Various Governments provide support and services to victims of family violence, however the report concludes that more funding is required for technology solutions and short-term accommodation to combat the problem.
Call 1800 800 Law for a confidential conversation if you or a family member have been a victim of family violence for advice about seeking protection, if the police or a family member have alleged acts of family violence against you, or if an intervention order has been issued against you.