COVID-19 is impacting the Western Australian community in a variety of ways, including influencing the incidence of injury. To raise awareness around the impact of COVID-19 on the prevalence of family and domestic violence and to increase health professional’s knowledge of how they can support someone they are concerned about, Injury Matters delivered a Domestic and Family Violence Response Webinar on May 5 2020 in partnership with Lifeline WA.
Every week in Australia, at least one woman is killed by a current or former partner.
It will take time to truly understand the impact of COVID-19 on the safety of women and children, however due to physical distancing restrictions, there is particular concern regarding the prevalence of social and technologically facilitated abuse during the pandemic. Initial data suggests that some domestic and family violence help–seeking behaviours have decreased, potentially due to the person who is being subjected to the violence not feeling safe enough to reach out for help. However, other support avenues, such as those online, have increased. For example, Google searches regarding domestic and family violence have increased by 75% over the last month.
On an individual level you may notice signs of potential violence amongst friends, family or co-workers, such as; loud and abusive behaviour, unexplained bruising or injuries, and/or belittling or bullying behaviour. If you are concerned about someone you can check in with them by; finding a safe time and place to talk, using open questions, asking if they are ready to talk, listening and asking how you can help them. However, it is vital that you do not place yourself in danger and if needed seek support for yourself.
If you are interested in learning how to; recognise the signs of domestic and family violence, respond with appropriate care and refer to appropriate support services, Lifeline WA offer a variety of domestic violence response trainings for allied health and frontline workers through their DV-alert program. For more information about the training streams and to register your interest click here.
Several organisations are available to support you regarding family and domestic violence, including;
- 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
- Women’s DV Helpline (9223 1188 and 1800 007 339)
- Crisis Care Helpline (9223 1111 and 1800 199 008)
- Lifeline (13 11 14)
- Mens Line Australia Free counselling (1300 789 978)
- No to Violence Men’s referral service (1300 766 491)
“Everyone has the right to remain free from violence or the threat of violence. There is never an excuse for violence under any circumstance.”