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Raft of measures to support family violence survivors through COVID
May 25, 2020
Emerge has welcomed the raft of financial support and measures outlined by the Victorian Government to support women stuck in violence relationships during lockdown.
“Our knowledge of the extent of family violence in the community before the lockdown, and the stories that women are sharing with us since highlighted a spike – a factor acknowledged by the Victoria Police,” Paula Westhead, Executive Officer, said.
In April, of the approximately 7,000 calls relating to family violence made to the police, 14% related to Covid-19, and when police attended incidents they were told by the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator that having to stay at home together had exacerbated animosity.
Paula Westhead said that the establishment of Operation Ribbon, a new taskforce focused on contacting high-risk perpetrators and the women survivors, was welcomed.
“These types of checks are vital in these stressful times. We have to hold perpetrators to account, as well as look after the wellbeing of women and children,” Paula said.
Other temporary changes that have been introduced through state parliament include extending the time interim family violence intervention orders and personal safety intervention orders lapse from 28 days to three months.
Other support for women surviving or at risk of family violence includes the investment of $20 million in short-term accommodation for family violence survivors who do not feel safe isolating or recovering from coronavirus at home. This includes nearly $10.4 million to help more women and children escaping family violence get access to safe accommodation and related support, and $5.1 million for more flexible support packages across the state.
“These are common sense steps, and ones which we hope would extend once lockdown is fully lifted. Family violence is not going to disappear,” Paula said.