Like many people, your life has probably changed significantly due to the physical distancing measures designed to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.
This may include changes to your employment or loss of family income or new caring responsibilities and living arrangements. These changes can also have significant impacts on your mental and physical health.
The behaviour of your partner or family members could also change or escalate during this time. If this behaviour makes you fear for your safety, it could be family violence.
The signs of family violence
Physical distancing and the fears and uncertainty of COVID-19 can give family violence perpetrators new opportunities to be abusive and controlling. These behaviours could include:
- Stopping you from leaving the house or visiting the doctor.
- Increased surveillance, such as monitoring handwashing/personal hygiene.
- Heightened monitoring and control of who you speak to by phone or online.
- Greater interference of the relationship between you and your children or other household members.
- Exploiting any health issues that you or other household members may have to assert coercive control.
- Forcing you to do things outside of the public health measures currently in place.
Remember – you have the right to feel safe, access medical support and communicate with friends and family. You have the right to leave the house for any of the reasons outlined by the government, such as going to work, buying groceries or getting exercise.
Get local support
If you are finding parenting challenging at the moment, there are services that can support you and your child during this time.
Yarra provides support for parents through our Family Support program. Simply call us on 9205 5555 and ask for our Intake Case Worker.
There are also a range of free and confidential family violence phone and online support services available to you:
- safe steps (1800 015 188) – a 24/7 family violence support service.
- inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence (1800 755 988) – phone support, information and legal advice for migrant and refugee women in your language.
- No To Violence Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491) – telecounselling, information and referrals to help men stop using violent and controlling behaviour.
- Djirra (1800 105 303) – telephone legal and non-legal support for all Aboriginal people, particularly women experiencing or who have experienced family violence.
- 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) – 24/7 national sexual assault, domestic, family violence counselling service.
- Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault (1800 806 292) – crisis line.
- Kids Helpline (1800 551 800) – 24/7 confidential telephone and online counselling service for children and young people aged between 5 and 25 years old.
- WithRespect (1800 542 847) – family and intimate partner violence support, referrals and telecounselling for LGBTIQ+ communities and their families.
If you think you or a family member are in immediate danger from family violence, please call Triple Zero on 000.