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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 








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