The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it many challenges – unprecedented disruptions to our normal lifestyle and routines, and significant pressure on our emotions, finances, study, and overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, these kinds of situations often mean personal and family relationships can become strained or existing domestic problems are exacerbated. The result can be an increase in family violence in the community.
The unique circumstances of self-isolation have likely made it harder for victims of family violence to stay safe or reach out for help over the past few months. At the moment, home may not always be the safest place to be.
A collaboration between AlburyCity and Murray River police, the ‘No Excuse’ campaign calls for victims, perpetrators and witnesses to seek help through the national 24-hour hotlines, 1800 RESPECT or Mensline on 1300 789 978.
AlburyCity Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Border Domestic Violence Network, Amanda Cohn, said support was always available.
“During this really stressful and challenging time for our community, we have unfortunately seen an increase in controlling and violent behaviour, including controlling of finances,” she said.
"Our local services have done an outstanding job of adapting to the circumstances and are available to help. If you feel like your home isn’t a safe place, if you’ve witnessed family violence, if you’re worried about your own behaviour, or even if you just want to know what support is available, we urge you to ring 1800 RESPECT or Mensline.”
Police and family support groups are well aware of the risk of domestic and family violence increasing during periods of heightened stress. The TV ads carry the message that there are never any excuses for violence within the home.
Inspector Scott Russell of Murray River Police encouraged anyone affected by domestic violence to reach out for help.
“Our homes are meant to be places of comfort and safety. Domestic violence is not acceptable under any circumstances and we urge anyone affected by this appalling behaviour – including the perpetrators – to get help so that families can be supported rather than attacked by those who should instead be caring for them,” he said.
Mr Clancy said it was crucial to speak out on such an important message.
“The response by Australians to COVID-19 has been amazing, positive and above all, kind,” he said.
“In our families we can nurture these qualities and support each other in our homes.
“There is no excuse for domestic violence, help is available and I urge local families to get that help if they need it.”
The campaign is being run with the backing of local support agencies and aims to help people across the wider Albury-Wodonga region.