NSW Government pledges increased support to domestic violence victims during COVID-19 crisis

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Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman affirms police and domestic violence frontline services commitment in supporting victims and their families as the state continues to respond to the coronavirus threat.

Mr Speakman said survivors should remain confident that support services and the NSW Police Force are prepared and ready to respond if they need help.  

“As citizens cooperate with social distancing directions, self-isolation and quarantine, there is an associated risk that domestic and family violence will increase,” Mr Speakman said.  

“Victims have a right to live a life free from violence every single day. When it’s safe to do so, I urge them to contact our hard working frontline services for support.” 

The NSW attorney general, Mark Speakman, during question time in the legislative assembly at NSW Parliament House. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Minister for Police David Elliott said police had ramped up their efforts to combat violence in the home, including more proactive operations to enforce protection orders. 

“I’m putting perpetrators on notice. It’s only a matter of time before police come knocking on your door if you continue to abuse those you claim to love,” Minister Elliott said. 

“Police are not only on the beat ensuring the public complies with public health orders, they’re also conducting thousands of Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) compliance checks to keep victims safe.”

Police ramping up support

NSW Police Force Domestic Violence Corporate Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones, said police will continue monitoring rates of domestic violence across the state.

“Specially trained police will continue targeting high-risk and repeat offenders to ensure that all orders are strictly followed and complied with and offenders are arrested if violence is detected,” Assistant Commissioner Jones said.  

Mark Speakman asks anyone who is aware of ongoing domestic violence cases to contact any of the Australian Government’s support services. Photo: Getty Images.

“Police are also able to vary existing interim or final ADVOs without needing to first go to court, if we know that violence is escalating, so that victims are immediately protected.

“NSW Police are working together with government agencies, including NSW Health, to ensure there is no increased health risk to the community.

“As always, if you witness domestic or family violence, call the police – the information you provide might just save someone’s life,” Assistant Commissioner Jones said.

Additional police support was also called upon by the CEO of Women’s Safety NSW, Hayley Foster, who says the way police will handle interactions will be critical

“We’re going to have to heavily rely on a police response,” Foster says. “There was also a significant concern raised in the web conference today about the emergency measures in NSW which will see prisoners being granted bail early.

“Domestic violence services haven’t been consulted and we need to know more so we can help assess the risk to public safety in releasing certain DV offenders while also keeping the victims informed of his release.”

Mr Speakman says that further changes may be necessary as the COVID-19 crisis continues, but affirms people that multiple services are available to provide immediate support.

Available services include: 

  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) is a confidential information, counselling and support service;
  • NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63) is a statewide telephone crisis counselling and referral service for women;
  • Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491) provide telephone counselling, information and referrals for men; 
  • Link2Home (1800 152 152) can help refer women experiencing domestic violence to crisis accommodation; and
  • Lifeline (13 11 14) is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.   

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