COVID-19 and Domestic Violence Help
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic Google has reported the highest number of searches for domestic violence help that they have seen in the past five years. Domestic violence services are already reporting an increase in demand. Here is some valuable information to assist anyone in such a situation.
The statistics on domestic violence are staggering. On average one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, please consider the following:
- Domestic violence is not ok. You have the right to live a life free from violence. No one deserves to be abused and there is never an excuse for violence.
- Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. Domestic violence also includes financial abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, verbal abuse, spiritual/cultural abuse, damage to property, sexual abuse, social abuse by controlling you, stalking and technological/digital abuse. Consider the WESNET Safety Net Australia Project safety check https://techsafety.org.au/resources/resources-women/ to learn how to increase your technology safety and privacy.
- Obtain a Protection Order. You can obtain a Protection Order to help stop the violence. In Queensland you can download an Application for a Protection Order from the Queensland Courts’ website and the link is https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/going-to-court/domestic-violence The Application can be filed in any Queensland Magistrates Court.
- Contact the Police. Call Triple Zero (000) if you are in urgent need of assistance from domestic violence. For all other domestic violence related matters, phone the police on 131 444, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can make contact with a police officer or police station by submitting the following form on the police website: https://www.police.qld.gov.au/domestic-violence
- Get safe accommodation and counselling. DVConnect provide many support services including crisis counselling http://www.dvconnect.org/. The DVConnect Womensline can also help women and children find crisis accommodation. Their weblink is http://www.dvconnect.org/womensline/ and you can call them 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 1800 811 811. There is also a DVConnect Mensline and their link is http://www.dvconnect.org/mensline/ and they can be contacted on 1800 600 636 between 9am and midnight 7 days a week.
- Obtain legal advice. You can obtain private legal advice from a family or criminal lawyer or obtain free advice from a Community Legal Centre such as Women’s Legal Service (“WLS”) Queensland https://wlsq.org.au/ Ph 1800 957 957 or Caxton Legal Centre https://caxton.org.au/ Ph is 3214 6333. To find other Community Legal Centres near you please see this link https://communitylegalqld.org.au/find-legal-help/find-centre for Community Legal Centres Queensland. You may also be eligible for Legal Aid who may be able to assist you http://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/Home
- Get help. Consider contacting the following for support:
- 1800RESPECT– PH:1800 737 732 – 24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Website https://www.1800respect.org.au/
- Lifeline PH 13 11 14– Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide. Website https://www.lifeline.org.au/
- Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline PH: 1800 019 123– Victims Services has a dedicated contact line for Aboriginal victims of crime who would like information on victims’ rights, how to access counselling and financial assistance.
- Brisbane Domestic Violence Service PH 3217 2544– a free and confidential service for people in the Brisbane Metropolitan area who are affected by domestic and family violence. The service supports women, children, family members, same sex couples and others. Website https://www.bdvs.org.au/
- Beyond Blue PH 1300 22 4636– provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. Website https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Many of our solicitors at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers also volunteer at Community Legal Centres such as Women’s Legal Service and Caxton Legal Centre and provide free legal advice in respect of family law matters including domestic violence.
Family law matters need to be addressed carefully and professionally. To speak with one of our experienced family lawyers, please contact our Brisbane office today. Call us on (07) 3221 4300 to organise a no-obligation initial appointment at a fixed-cost. We will be happy to assist you in person, over the phone or by Skype.
 Bryant W & Bricknell S 2017. Homicide in Australia 2012–13 to 2013–14: National Homicide Monitoring Program report. Statistical Reports no. 2. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/sr/sr002