With neighbouring coronavirus hotspots now raising the possibility of more isolation for Canberrans this Christmas, ACT Policing is urging the community not to delay seeking help with domestic and family violence services.
In 2020, ACT Policing has responded to more than 3,000 family violence related matters and Canberra’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) has managed over 70,000 engagements, plus 3,000 face-to-face engagements.
These engagements spiked when Covid first impacted Australia and again shortly after Victoria’s second wave began.
ACT Policing Family Violence Unit Inspector Sue Smith said anyone experiencing domestic and family violence could be sure that police and domestic violence services were there to help.
“If you are required to be in self-quarantine or isolation and you are subjected to domestic or family violence, you do not need to stay home or in the hotel,” Inspector Smith said.
“If you feel unsafe, please contact ACT Policing or the DVCS to discuss safe alternatives and next steps.”
DVCS will remain open throughout the holiday period, operating 24/7 to support all people impacted by domestic and family violence, including those who use violence.
DVCS interim general manager Glenda Stevens said Christmas could be a particularly dangerous time for those who live with violence within their relationships but her team at DVCS was “very prepared” for their usual busy period.
“This year our community is also managing the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions that are very near to home,” she said.
“Like other organisations, DVCS is closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation unfolding in Sydney and surrounding region.
“Regardless of what happens within the ACT, DVCS will be available to support people. This includes providing 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning, legal advocacy, and access to emergency accommodation.
“In the event Covid reaches the ACT or we go into lockdown again, we anticipate we will experience some changes in how clients engage with us.
“Many people are still living with their abusive partner, so many find it safer to contact us via other methods such as email or online chat, ways that aren’t requiring them to speak on the telephone.”
DVCS has created a page on their website dedicated to help people increase their safety while at home, especially those who are required to self-isolate or might be in quarantine.
This section also includes a downloadable easy English version, and the website can be translated into other languages.
If you are required to be in isolation or self-quarantine and being subjected to domestic or family violence, you can seek help from DVCS or call ACT Policing.
“We can support you manage your next steps to access a safe alternative,” Ms Stevens said.
DVCS can be contacted on: Phone: 02 62 800 900 (24/7), Email: [email protected], SMS: 0421 268 492, Online chat: https://dvcs.org.au/chat-process/ , Confidential Contact Form: https://dvcs.org.au/contact/confidential-contact/
Police can be reached at: Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or life-threatening situation.
Call Police Assistance on 131 444 if it is a non-emergency, but you require police assistance.