Greens call for capacity increase for family and domestic violence services amid COVID-19 crisis

Greens spokesperson for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today called on the Government to ensure people experiencing FDV have access to support services, as the country grapples with the COVID-19 crisis.

Ms Xamon said it was crucial providers were adequately resourced to continue to provide support in these trying times.  The call comes amid feedback of additional calls for support from individuals following self-isolation and the pressures of job losses and financial uncertainty.

“Self-isolating will add to the burden for people experiencing FDV,” Ms Xamon said.

“Options like waiting for a perpetrator to leave for work before seeking help, or waiting to be alone, are now closing down. And this at a time when people are under extraordinary added pressure.

“The Government must look at urgently increasing funding for the sector: to allow them to support people to stay safe in their homes; to provide more crisis accommodation; and to enhance the ability to provide counselling and other services remotely. Refuge services and programs provided through grant funding that is due to expire in the coming months should be provided ongoing funding during the crisis. Now is not the time for funding uncertainties.

Ms Xamon said evidence from China had shown that instances of domestic violence increased during the coronavirus lockdown, and she had already heard reports of increases in people seeking help in Australia. 

"Meanwhile, services are facing a loss of volunteers and donations. It is vital the sector is able not only to support people already accessing services, but is prepared for a potential influx of new cases.  

“The coronavirus crisis will undoubtedly create an extra burden for Western Australians experiencing FDV,” Ms Xamon said.

“We must act now to ensure they continue to have the support that they need.”

Two women sit with heads bowed on a brown couch