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22 April 2020

If you feel unsafe or threatened at home during COVID-19, Safer Community can help

The evolving COVID-19 situation is making life more challenging for everyone, with our normal routines, support networks and hobbies disrupted or unavailable. The social distancing restrictions currently in place are also making it much harder for people to access support services.

Unfortunately, research shows that cases of family violence often increase during and after times of emergency or national crisis, such as bushfires or floods. So it is likely that more people may be exposed to, or experience, family violence during this difficult time, especially as we don’t know how long the COVID-19 crisis will last.

Why family violence increases during times of crisis

The Lookout, which provides information and resources to help professionals respond to family violence, published research showing that family violence increased following Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires. This was because people tend to revert to strict gender norms during times of natural disaster and uncertainty. Men act as the ‘protectors’ and decision-makers, and women are the ‘carers’. These strict gender norms reduce women’s autonomy and can put them and their children at risk.

Women’s experiences of violence also tend to be dismissed or excused more often during times of disaster or emergency, with excuses like ‘He is just stressed’ used to justify violent behaviour.

The Lookout also highlighted other contributing factors that can increase the risk of family violence and are likely to be relevant in the COVID-19 situation:

How Safer Community can help

If you feel unsafe in your home, or the COVID-19 restrictions mean that your personal situation could become dangerous or unsustainable, Safer Community is here to support you, including to assist you with a safety plan if appropriate.

Safer Community is Deakin’s central point of contact for reports of family violence and sexual harm, and we also respond to reports of concerning behaviour. This includes anything that makes you feel threatened or unsafe, makes you worried that someone may harm themselves or someone else, offends you or just doesn’t feel quite right.

Our trained professionals are experienced in dealing with this kind of trauma – and it doesn’t matter if it’s recent or historical, or where it happened. 

Visit the Safer Community website to find out more, including information on what will happen if you make a report, how we manage your privacy, and what ongoing referrals, support and monitoring are available.

How to contact Safer Community

It’s important to know that Safer Community is not an emergency or crisis response service and we only operate during business hours. If you or someone else needs immediate help, please contact Victoria Police by calling Triple Zero (000).

Contact Safer Community during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am–4pm) by:

Other information and help

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