Virus putting vulnerable at risk

Photo: file

WHILE the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the region in various ways, it has potentially increased the risk to women and children suffering domestic and family violence.

According to a local DV network, research has shown there is often a spike in violence towards women during times of crises.

“The Northern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service has particular concern for women and children for whom home is not safe,” program manager Clare McKay said.

“We know domestic and family violence occurs within a pattern of abuse and control; and that controlling behaviours are inclusive of restricting people’s relationships and interactions with family, friends and services.

“COVID-19 will intensify the experience of control for women and children and has the potential to increase risk.

“These circumstances can make it difficult for women to find a safe time to call the Domestic Violence Crisis Line (1800 800 098).

“During this time, it’s really important we look out for one another, so if you are concerned about the safety of someone you know, we encourage you to call the Domestic Violence Crisis Line. DV counsellors can help make a plan to support the safety of women and children.”

Last Wednesday a national candle lighting vigil was livestreamed via social media to commemorate victims of domestic and family violence.

A minute’s silence was also held for lost loved ones, with people connecting via the hashtags #VigilSA and #StandByUs across the nation.

Over the past three weeks, three women have been killed violently in Australia

“In South Australia, Kim Murphy was murdered in Morphett Vale despite her calls for help,” Ms McKay said.

“Her tragic death is a reminder that we all have a part to play in looking out for each other and keeping our community safe.

“During this time, we implore our fellow South Australians to be good ‘bystanders’.

“As neighbours, colleagues and friends, we can check up on those we are worried about.  “Please report any concerns or suspicions, including altercations. For immediate police assistance people should call SAPOL on triple zero.

“The Northern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service continues to encourage women experiencing domestic or family violence to call 1800RESPECT or, if in crisis, the DV Crisis Line on 1800 800 098.”

Ms McKay said the service had adapted to the current climate.

“Across the organisation of Women’s Safety Services SA, the workforce has moved to providing only essential face-to-face appointments, providing a majority of support over the phone,” she said.

“Every sector will be experiencing significant challenges and our service is navigating this constantly changing landscape with the wellbeing of our clients, staff and the wider community front of mind.

“While we know home isolation and stress can intensify the underlying conditions that lead to violence, they do not cause it and they do not excuse it.

“There is no excuse for domestic and family violence and sexual assault.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that our communities are safe and that we treat each other with respect.”

If you or someone you know is suffering domestic violence, help is just a phone call away on the Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1800 800 098, 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732, or Lifeline: 13 11 14. Men who need help can contact the new Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491 In an emergency dial 000.

Sara Gilligan

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Sara Gilligan completed a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Writing and Creative Communication at the University of South Australia in 2014. Sara grew up in the Adelaide Hills before moving to Waikerie in 2015 to pursue her journalism career at The Bunyip’s sister paper The River News. She transitioned to Renmark’s Murray Pioneer newspaper in 2017, where she enjoyed Riverland reporting, before becoming The Bunyip’s editor in November 2019. She enjoys covering local government and police/emergency services and is passionate about giving locals a voice on community issues.

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