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Published on 12.08.2021 | By Victoria Lai

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t the only thing plaguing people’s lives. Domestic abuse cases against women and children have soared, creating another shadow pandemic. Women; wives, mothers and daughters were left vulnerable at home with their abusers for days or weeks on end due to coronavirus restrictions. 

 

What caused the abuse?

  • Coronavirus restrictions

  • Unemployment 

  • Financial stress 

How has the pandemic affected the rate of domestic abuse cases?

  • The lengthy and numerous lockdowns have left women trapped in a ‘prison’ with their abusers 

  • Women who would usually respite from their partners during work hours have been forced to stay at home with their abusers because of covid restrictions or unemployment 

  • Almost 10% of australian women revealed that they have experienced domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020

  • 50% of women who had previously experienced abuse reported that the abuse had become more frequent or more violent from the start of the pandemic 

  • The Illawarra Women’s Health Centre experienced a 189% increase in referrals for domestic abuse cases 

 

Who is affected? Why is it hard for them to seek help?

  • Women who live in rural, tight knit communities are less likely to seek help

  • Women who are financially dependent on their partner (there is a significant gap between the power dynamic)

  • They are worried about the social stigma that comes with being a domestic abuse survivor. Some survivors have reported feeling ashamed of their experiences 

  • They may also be afraid of reprisals from their abuser 

 

What is happening now?

  • Last year the Social Services Minister Anne Ruston started an inquiry into family violence in Australia

  • However, the inquiry ended 3 months early and the final report did not rely on any public submissions or evidence from public hearings

 

What can we do?

  • Advocacy 

  • Push for relevant policy reforms, for more responsible and reliable inquiries (eg. temporary visa allowances)

 

Why is this important?
 

  • To protect the lives of innocent victims

  • To defend people in precarious situations- especially those who are threatened with deportation 




 

 

 

 

 

 

References 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/dec/01/the-worst-year-domestic-violence-soars-in-australia-during-covid-19 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55073229  

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-23/domestic-violence-survivor-speaks-out/12688072  

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-01/new-national-inquiry-into-domestic-violence/12307772

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-violence-against-women  

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-in-australia-2018/summary 

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