‘The most dangerous place in the world for a woman is in her own home’ – New York Times
In recent weeks the Coronavirus pandemic has altered the world in unprecedented ways. In Australia, there is a general perception that virtually overnight our lives have been turned into a narrative that reflects a dystopian theme. While everyone is reeling from the change and desperately trying to adjust to the ‘new normal’ there have been inevitable ‘knock on’ effects to the Australian Government’s social isolation implementations, which have effectively put women in violent relationships further at risk.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Domestic Violence rates?
Already in China, Domestic Violence rates have soared as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cities reports of Domestic Violence have nearly doubled. As lockdowns and restrictions start to amass around the world, so too does the risk to women in violent relationships. The restricted living arrangements, financial stress and psychological detriment of the crisis have been noted as just some of the reasons why Domestic Violence is on the rise in such a climate. Already rampant perpetrators are becoming more dangerous.
Conversely, many Domestic Violence services for women are more difficult to access with funding being slashed from shelters, counselling services and support facilities as part of the economic fallout of COVID-19. So while Domestic Violence rates are on a sharp incline, the access women have to such services is on an observable decline. This is inarguably one of the biggest catastrophes women face as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Domestic Violence Action Centre has listed the following key points for women to consider when isolated with a violent partner.
Steps to protect yourself when isolated with a violent partner:
- If possible have your mobile phone charged and near you at all times with emergency numbers ready to call;
- Identify any safe areas of the house where it is possible to escape;
- Make a habit of backing your car into the driveway and keeping it fuelled at all times (also try to keep your keys near you);
- Let trusted neighbours and friends know your situation and develop a plan or visual signal for when you need help;
- Call the Police on 000 if you are fearful for your safety or the safety of your children.
Are you experiencing Domestic Violence? How can Andersons help you:
We have female solicitors in our family law team who specialise in matters involving Domestic Violence: Eva Bailey and Daniela Cutufia. During this crisis they are on standby to take your telephone call to discuss your individual situation and to provide advice as to how our firm can assist you during this very difficult time. Please contact Andersons Solicitors or call on 8263 6666 to speak with Eva or Daniela.
Further, if you have any psychological anxieties about being in isolation with your partner please call the The National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 RESPECT.