Increased funding a lifeline for domestic violence sufferers
LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has joined anti-domestic violence campaigners in urging victims to seek help regardless of the new isolation measures in place due to COVID-19.
There are fears that the new social isolation measures which recommend people stay at home wherever possible, could create an increase in domestic violence cases.
Mrs Saffin said regardless of the situation facing the outside world, it is important families are safe in their homes.
“No person should in live in fear of violence and I urge people to seek the help they need when it is safe to do so,” Ms Saffin said.
Sharon Grocott, Head of Research and Innovation at Interrelate, said that the social isolation measures can force people into dangerous situations at home.
“Domestic and family violence is likely to significantly increase due to social distancing, social isolation and the impact of job losses,” Mrs Grocott said.
Ms Saffin said the State Government is trying to be proactive in monitoring the situation.
“Police will continue to conduct thousands of Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) compliance checks to keep victims safe,” Ms Saffin said.
The move coincides with the Federal Government’s $150 million funding increase in the sector to help keep domestic violence centres open and accessible to victims.
“The ability to service our clients through online platforms and via the phone was already in progress supporting families in remote areas,” Mrs Grocott said.
“As the potential for restrictions on social contact became evident at the beginning of this crisis, we prioritised this service access across all of our programs to enable vulnerable and at-risk people access to vital support,” Mrs Grocott said.
“In addition to the specialist domestic violence services support, we will be waiving the small service fee that is normally incurred for counselling services, ensuring that we are helping as many people as possible to navigate this difficult time safely.”
If you think you or someone you know is at risk of domestic violence, please contact the NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or 1800 RESPECT for a free confidential, counselling service.