Sydney lockdown stretches family violence support

Victims and offenders alike are failing to appear for their days in court, a study has found. <i>Photo: Getty</i>

Victims and offenders alike are failing to appear for their days in court, a study has found. Photo: Getty Getty

Domestic violence services across NSW are struggling to meet increased demand during lockdown as waitlists lengthen and funding dries up.

Domestic Violence NSW, the peak body for specialist domestic and family violence services in NSW, surveyed 78 member services on the week of July 20 and found 73 per cent of services were facing a significant increase in demand.

Most (84 per cent) of services said there was an increase in the complexity of the situations for clients and half of the services reported waitlists had increased in length during this coronavirus outbreak.

DVNSW CEO Delia Donovan said the figures were “incredibly worrying”.

“Funding granted during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak was welcomed but has now ceased for many services and as a result they’ve faced the loss of staff and resources,” Ms Donovan said on Tuesday.

“The lack of long-term funding makes the increase in demand difficult, especially in regional and rural areas.”

DVNSW is calling on the government to fund an emergency COVID-19 support package to create community awareness campaigns on how to access support and to give priority vaccination for staff and clients.

Acting CEO of Muslim Women Australia Nemat Kharboutli said the most recent lockdowns had stretched resources and taken a toll on the workforce.

“We are working around the clock to ensure culturally and linguistically diverse women, families and communities are receiving up-to-date messaging, are safe from both a domestic and family violence and health perspective, and know support is available,” Ms Kharboutli said.

No to Violence’s CEO Jacqui Watt said lockdowns weren’t an excuse for men who were concerned about their behaviour to delay getting support.

They can call the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.

“We are there to support you to take these first steps,” Ms Watt said.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)


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