South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) has already reported a 250% increase in demand for their services from the same period last year. Other family violence services across Australia have experienced similar demand for their services.
SECASA employees have observed some changes to the types of family violence that victims and survivors are experiencing. These include increased levels of control, misinformation regarding public health advice and further isolation.
Katherine Dowson, Director of SECASA, says she expects demand for people accessing their services to continue to rise.
“Research demonstrates that disasters and major events such as COVID-19 can bring with them added stress, financial insecurity and unemployment. We know these factors can lead to heightened risk of family violence however we do not know the long-term effects that isolating with a perpetrator can bring. We expect as Victorians return to their COVID normal life and reflect on their experience in lockdown with their support and social networks that the increase in demand for our services will continue well into the new year.” said Katherine.
SECASA is a part of Monash Health Community and offers a range of therapeutic individual and group-based counselling programs to support new and existing clients with services such as family violence and sexual assault counselling, risk assessment and safety planning, as well as referrals and linkages to other support services. They can offer over the phone or face to face appointments in accordance with COVID safe practices.
As always, if you know someone is in immediate danger, call 000.
If you want help identifying and responding to family violence within the health service, the Monash Health family violence clinical guideline is found on prompt.
Approved by Katrina Nankervis