Domestic violence victims/survivors will have more help during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the NSW and Federal Governments investing more than $21 million to boost frontline services and other supports.
The investment, announced on Tuesday, includes $12.8 million from the NSW government and $8.8 million from the federal government.
Money will go to frontline services, women’s refuges, greater public awareness, and a temporary pop-up safe house in Manly that provides temporary accommodation to highly vulnerable women and their children.
NSW Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said in the pandemic had potentially increased the risk of abuse in already violent homes.
“The Premier’s message early in this pandemic, the message of our health advisors was ‘Stay home. Stay safe’… but for many domestic violence sufferers, particularly women and children, staying home isn’t safe – they have nowhere safe to go,” he said.
“That is why the packaged being announced today is so important. The mark of a civil society is how we look after the vulnerable. There is no more vulnerable group in our society than domestic and family violence victims.”
During #covid19australia #StayHomeSaveLifes was key to helping #StopTheSpreadOfCOVID19
But #domesticviolence victims didn’t have a safe home to begin with.
The #NSW Gov + #federalgov are a delivering $21M to boost #DV #VAW supports.
https://t.co/1s8fztua4Z via @smh
— Mark Speakman (@MarkSpeakman) May 26, 2020
Voices for Change coordinator for Domestic Violence NSW Renata Field said the funding will have a positive impact on services and vulnerable people.
“We applaud the NSW government for increasing supports to frontline services who are working 24/7 to provide supports to those who need it. Although there is still more that can be done, this funding will boost services across NSW to ensure people experiencing violence have access to the supports they need,” Ms Field said.
While Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) statistics do not show a rise in cases, experts contend victims were potentially unable to report due to home confinement with their perpetrator. A report in late March from advocacy group Women’s Safety NSW, who surveyed 80 frontline workers and service providers around the state, found 40% had already experienced an increase in client numbers since the outbreak of COVID-19.
“Services across the state have reported an increase in the complexity of the situations of people asking for help. In many areas there has been an increase in the number of people reaching out for help,” Ms Field said.
“It is difficult to measure the level of violence in the community, however research suggests that as little as one in ten people who experience violence report it to police, so we know there are lots of people in the community at risk who are not reaching out for help.”
Frontline domestic violence services across NSW have been given a funding boost after the demand for crisis support increased during the #COVID19 pandemic.
— Chelsea Cryer (@chelsea_cryer) May 27, 2020
Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636; Domestic Violence Line 1800 65 64 63; 1800-RESPECT 1800 737 732