DVRCV Launches Warning Signs Tip Sheet
Frontline essential workers are carrying our society in many ways at the moment. Being among the few who still have regular face-to-face contact with members of the general public, they also have the opportunity to provide critical support those who may not be safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recognising this untapped potential, the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) has developed a tip sheet resource outlining the warning signs or indicators of family violence all essential workers can look out for.
The tip sheet also provides practical advice on what to do if you suspect someone is experiencing abuse, including where to refer victim survivors for specialist help and support.
As captured in the tip sheet, there are many signs of family violence we can all look out for, some of which are specific to the COVID-19 context.
According to DVRCV CEO, Emily Maguire, these signs may include “fear when a partner is mentioned or anxiousness to please or appease a partner. There may also be physical signs – like bruises, cuts or other injuries, with unlikely-sounding explanations or none at all.”
The tip sheet resource has been released at a very pressing and volatile time, with experts anticipating the COVID-19 public health crisis and associated social-distancing and lockdown measures will result in increased and escalated domestic abuse.
“Family violence can increase by up to 100 per cent during times of major crisis,” Ms Maguire explained.
“Research shows this happens as a result of stereotypical gender roles resurfacing in the home, out of sight, limiting women’s independence and autonomy, and because violence or abuse may be ‘excused’ with statements like ‘he’s just stressed.’”
On top of that, family violence risk can be further compounded by the additional, unique strains the pandemic is placing on relationships and family dynamics.
“Financial, employment and housing insecurity coupled with sustained periods of isolation from other people may exacerbate violence. Often, people living with family violence will blame themselves for what’s happening to them and may be reluctant to tell anyone,” Ms. Maguire added.
Now more than ever, it is crucial that those working in front-line essential services, who still have contact with members of the community, are equipped with the knowledge to recognise family violence and respond appropriately.
To ensure it reaches as many people working in essential services as possible, DVRCV are urging all professionals to share this resource with the essential workers in their own networks – whether that be colleagues, family members, or social media contacts.
The tip sheet can be accessed and downloaded via the Lookout website at https://www.thelookout.org.au/warningsigns
DVRCV is working hard to develop more resources to support professionals responding to family violence during this time. Check The Lookout’s COVID-19 and Resource Hub for new additions.
To download the tip sheet, click here.