Social services and community support workers around the country fear the incidence of intimate partner and family violence in homes is likely to increase in these uncertain times of Covid-19.

“Domestic violence is a very complex situation that has the potential to escalate by the introduction of coronavirus restrictions,” said IMPACT Community Services’ Manager of Intensive Family Support, Melissa Clarke.

“People who choose to use violence against their partners and family members often have a pattern of abuse.

“This usually includes coercion, surveillance, and cutting off their partner’s relationships with neighbours, co-workers, friends and family.

“Isolation and social distancing due to the COVID19 pandemic will intensify this kind of coercive control by abusers.

“Importantly, if people had plans in place to remove themselves from a destructive relationship, they may decide to put those plans on hold, which puts them at great risk, and their children at risk.”

Ms Clarke said now, more than ever, the importance of being a concerned and responsive bystander was paramount, meaning the need for your help as an outside observer of violence or abuse is crucial.

“Bystander’s don’t necessarily have to intervene, but if they see something that causes them concern, they should try at least to ask them ‘is everything okay?’ or call the police, especially when vulnerable wo/men and children are being harmed,” she said.

“Sometimes that is all that is needed to help someone and kick-start events that might lead to a positive outcome.

“It’s never too late to offer help.”

If you are a victim of domestic violence there are three things that IMPACT’s Intensive Family Support (IFS) team wants you to know:

  1. Safety is number one. Keep yourself and your children safe, in whatever way is available to you.
  2. It’s not forever. Restrictions will be relaxed at some point and more avenues will be open to you.
  3. Reach out to your support network. If you haven’t got one, make one. Confiding in someone might be the most important thing you’ve ever done.

“We are here to provide support as well as help to connect family members to current available services to ensure their safety needs and their children’s safety needs are being met,” Ms Clarke said.

The IFS team will be talking to clients via phone or SKYPE.

For family support and information call: 4153 4233

Other key contacts include:

DV Connect: 1800 811 811

Edon Place: 4153 6820

Men’s Line: 1300 78 99 78
Central Queensland Regional Intake Service (business hours): 1300 703 762

Child Safety (after hours): 1800 177 135

Parentline: 1300 30 1300

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Beyond Blue: 1800RESPECT

Headspace: 1800 650 890