UPDATE: Impacts on COVID-19 on Domestic and Family Violence in NSW
Women’s Safety NSW, a peak representative body for women’s specialist domestic and family violence services in New South Wales, published a report on how COVID-19 has affected domestic and family violence (DFV) and the frontline workers who respond to it. Frontline workers, coordinators and service providers were surveyed, and the findings were presented in the said report.
Women’s Safety NSW conducted a second survey of frontline workers and service providers to gather information on the evolving challenges arising from the ongoing health crisis.
Whilst there were fewer respondents, the findings from the second survey reinforce the key issues that have surfaced in the wake of COVID-19. Such findings reveal clear patterns in how the pandemic is has begun to affect women and children experiencing DFV.
- Frontline services continue to report increasing client numbers since the outbreak of COVID-19
- A majority of survey respondents report an increase in the complexity of client issues since the outbreak of COVID-19
- Concerningly, there was a substantial increase in the percentage of survey respondents who identified violence being reported for the first time.
- There was also a significant increase in the percentage of workers who were seeing women reporting violence relating specifically to COVID-19.
- Furthermore an increased percentage of respondents identified insufficient service availability as a key issue facing clients.
- Access to additional support/casework to support complex clients, and access to income and material needs remain the two most significant service gaps for women followed by temporary accommodation and safe technologies for women.
- Frontline workers continue to struggle with changes to procedure, and face barriers when working from home. Resource packages and additional staffing is urgently needed.
- Key Points
- The Impact on DV Survivors
- The Impact on Frontline Services and Workers
- Urgent Need for Response
- Concluding Remarks
This report was originally published on the Women’s Safety NSW website.