As people around the country and the world remain in lockdown a key area of concern is the increased risk of domestic violence.
Local Labor MP for Lismore Janelle Saffin has highlighted that ‘there is an associated risk domestic and family violence will increase as the community is asked to comply with social distancing directions and self-isolation’.
‘No person should in live in fear of violence and I urge people to seek the help they need when it is safe to do so,’ Ms Saffin said.
According to Ms Saffin police have increased efforts to combat violence in the home, including more proactive operations to enforce protection orders.
‘Police will continue to conduct thousands of Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) compliance checks to keep victims safe,’ Ms Saffin said.
NSW police force domestic violence corporate spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones, said police are monitoring rates of domestic violence.
‘High-risk and repeat offenders are being targeted by specially trained police to ensure that all orders are strictly followed and complied with and offenders are arrested if violence is detected,’ Assistant Commissioner Jones said.
‘Police are also able to vary existing interim or final ADVOs if we know that violence is escalating, without needing to first go to court, so 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 in the current environment.’
Local court changes
The Chief Magistrate has mad a number of changes in the Local Court in response to the COVID-19 crisis. These include:
- Increased use of audio visual link technology;
- Restricting physical attendance at court, where legally represented;
- Streamlining bail processes, localised to certain metro and regional local courts;
- Defended hearings where the accused is in custody, adjourned for eight weeks; and
- Police providing court dates of three months from issuing Field Court Attendance Notices.
- The NSW government also passed amendments to enable Provisional ADVOs to remain in place for up to six months, if the court cannot consider them earlier. This coincides with reforms that extend the default duration of ADVOs made by a court from one year to two years.
Available support services
The government has also increased funding for temporary accommodation and to assist exisiting clients to access secure stable housing through priority social housing and in the private rental market.
Current support services include:
- If you are in danger call Triple Zero 000
- 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) is a confidential information, counselling and support service;
- NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 656 463) 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; and
- Link2Home (1800 152 152) can help refer women experiencing domestic violence to crisis accommodation.