You are not alone
All Family Violence Response Services will continue to operate throughout this pandemic and Victoria Police will still attend calls and enter the house, even if there is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Seek help here.
Like most people across Victoria, your life has probably changed in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the public health measures designed to stop it spreading. These changes could include a loss of family income, being required to stay home or in quarantine, or struggling with a heightened sense of fear and uncertainty.
The behaviour of your partner or family members might also have changed or escalated. If this behaviour makes you fear for your safety – or the safety of another person – it is likely to be a form of family violence.
If you are experiencing family violence, we know it may be more difficult for you to reach out during COVID-19. There is support for you. Call safe steps on 1800 015 188 or a Gippsland family violence agency listed here.
Family violence is any threatening, coercive, dominating or abusive behaviour that occurs between people in a family, domestic or intimate relationship, or former intimate relationship, that causes the person experiencing the behaviour to feel fear. Family violence can come in many forms such as physical and sexual violence, and often also includes controlling and coercive behaviours.
We understand that isolation at home with a person who uses violence will make things more difficult or frightening for you and your children, including accessing support. They may use social distancing health measures in relation to COVID-19 to increase their controlling behaviour. This might include:
- Stopping you from leaving the house or visiting the doctor
- Increased surveillance, such as monitoring handwashing
- Controlling who you speak to by phone or online
Remember – you have the right to feel safe, access medical support and communicate with friends and family. You have the right to leave the house*.
*For reliable, up to date information about social distancing and other public health measures in response to COVID-19, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website here. If someone is forcing you to go beyond these measures, it may be family violence.