Family violence COVID-19

Eye on family violence during COVID-19 lockdown

Right now, the stability and security of “home” is more important than ever for Victorians. But unfortunately, home is not a safe place for everyone – particularly those who may be at risk of experiencing family violence.

The Victorian Government has announced allocating more than $20 million to keep more family violence victim survivors safe in their own homes – and keep perpetrators in full sight.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams have announced more initiatives to combat family violence and address a jump in demand for perpetrator services during the pandemic.

“Home has never been more important. With this package, we’re helping more victim survivors stay in their own homes, while perpetrators are kept in full sight” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“If you are using violence or hurting someone in your family – or if you’re worried that you might – then the very best thing you can do is ask for help. Take the first step and contact the Men’s Referral Service” the Premier added.

With more Victorians at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, there’s an increased risk for women and children experiencing family violence or abuse. According to the government, in the past month, the Men’s Referral Service has reported an 11 per cent increase in calls compared to last year.

Funding these programs will enable 1,500 perpetrators of family violence, or people who believe they are at risk of using violence, to leave their homes and move into short or long-term accommodation options. It will also provide intervention and behaviour change programs for those who are using violence in the home – including a dedicated support for adolescents using violence and their families.

“We know there’s an increased risk of family violence during the pandemic, which is why we want to ensure every single Victorian can access the services and support they need”,  Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams said.

There’ll also be increased funding for family violence service providers so they can continue to adapt their services under Stay at Home restrictions, ensuring they can deliver support when and where it’s needed.

“I also want to be clear: even with Stay at Home restrictions in place, if you need to leave a violent situation, you can – and you will not be fined” the minister added.

While the government is telling Victorians to stay at home to fight the virus, for some people, being at home is anything but safe.

If you are experiencing violence at home, leaving for your safety is perfectly okay and support services remain available for help through safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 or webchat safesteps.org.au/chat Monday through Friday, 9am to 9pm.

Anyone concerned about their own behaviour can contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.

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