With more Victorians at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, we know there’s an increased risk for women and children experiencing family violence or abuse.
The average recorded family or domestic violence cases throughout Hawthorn a year is around 800 cases, with an average of 8,000 in the Eastern Metropolitan area alone. What is even more concerning is these figures don’t register incidents that may go unreported or are hidden. The rate of family violence has spiked during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
This is a very real issue and one I find particularly concerning. Family violence is an almost silent destroyer. It destroys families, childhoods, marriages, partnerships and in some cases life.
The Government is keeping family violence victim survivors safe in their own homes by investing in more early intervention programs, crisis accommodation and culturally safe supports for perpetrators.
This morning, the Premier and the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams announced $20.4 million in funding to address family violence and a jump in demand for perpetrator services during the pandemic.
In the past month, the Men’s Referral Service has reported an 11 per cent increase in calls compared to last year. This funding will support around 1,500 perpetrators by offering both short and long-term accommodation options, emergency crisis support, as well as early intervention and behaviour change programs for adolescents that are using violence in the home.
There will also be increased funding for family violence service providers so they can continue to adapt to physical distancing rules, stay at home restrictions and deliver support when and where it’s needed.
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