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Coronavirus isolation triggers domestic violence warning

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Anti-domestic violence campaigners are concerned the impact of the coronavirus is putting extra pressure on the sector.

Anti-domestic violence campaigners are concerned the impact of the coronavirus is putting extra pressure on the sector.

The Australian Women Against Violence Alliance has warned of a possible jump in incidents if people are forced to self-isolate at home.

Program manager Merrindahl Andrew told that China experienced a spike in domestic violence rates as people were forced to stay indoors.

"The other thing to understand is that this disaster is really overlaying on other disasters that are happening in people's lives," Dr Andrew said.

Dr Andrew said the workload of services helping domestic violence victims had risen in past disasters such as bushfires and hurricanes.

"And we expect a similar rise in demand for our services this time," she said.

The effects of social isolation can cause the triggers of domestic violence to intensify, experts say.

Dr Andrew feared the pandemic will severely test services that are already under pressure.

Domestic violence counsellors and other staff are moving to remote counselling and home-based offices in response to the virus, but this may reduce face-to-face meetings with clients.

"The underlying level of resourcing for services is already too low so when there are crises overlapping then we can expect that there'll be even more problems," Dr Andrew said.

Dr Andrew also warned a jump in cases would put further pressure on crisis accommodation throughout Australia.

Similarly, Domestic Violence Victoria acting chief executive Alison Macdonald said enforced isolation could see a rise in domestic violence cases.


She told the US had also seen a rise in cases since the outbreak started.

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"The potential effects of social isolation in cases is concerning," Ms Macdonald said.

Campaigners voiced concerns last week after a meeting of federal, state and territory leaders failed to deliver further support to domestic violence services.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyond blue on 1300 22 4636.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

National Domestic Violence Service: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

If you are in immediate danger call triple zero (000).

Source: 9News

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