News & Events

Severity of violence is escalating says Emerge

February 24, 2021

A disturbing pattern that has been observed since late 2020 is the radical change in the severity of violence that women coming into Emerge’s refuge have experienced.

According to Jessica, Manager Integrated Family Services, several women have escaped violence perpetrated by highly dangerous men who are now in remand.

“There has been a trend from men being on Invention Orders to being in remand because of fears that they will breach bail and not comply with an IVO. An intervention order is usually seen as a protection enough for the women we support, but lately we have this escalation in violence leading to the perpetrators being taken away by the police,” she said.

For Emerge staff, the reality is that many of the women living in the 24/7 refuge have highly complex cases and many of the women arriving at the service are suffering from post-trauma stress disorder.

The trend which Emerge is witnessing mirrors what Victoria Police is reporting as well as refuges across Australia and internationally.

“Violence has increased and is becoming more dangerous, and we can put this down to the pandemic,” Jessica said. Financial stress, a rise in unemployment, healthcare concerns, and alcohol and other drug use can all contribute to risk of family violence. And with many people staying inside their homes during the pandemic, those risks might be more difficult to avoid.

In Victoria, latest crime statistics reveal a significant increase of family violence incidents based on trends over the past five years.

Victoria Police’s recorded crime trends show the monthly number of family violence incidents was higher in every month during 2020 than during 2019. There was an increase of 6.7% from June 2019 to June 2020, with 88,214 family violence incidents reported to police, compared to 82,651 and 76,093 during the same time in the previous years.

Emerge runs one of the few 24/7 refuges in Victoria protecting women and children from family violence.

The 24/7 refuges were established in response to the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence, which recommended improving access to after-hours crisis support immediately after serious family violence incidents.

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