Isolation, shutdown and unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic are putting people at increased risk of violence, Austin Health’s family violence experts are warning.
And they have some important messages that they want to share:
“If you’re experiencing family violence, you can leave the house to seek support and safety,” says Louise Whatmore, Austin Health Family Violence Social Work Senior Clinician.
“Our hospital remains a safe place, and will provide you with support, and a pathway to safety,” she says.
“People may be experiencing an increase or escalation of violence due to COVID,” says Beth Tynan, Specialist Family Violence Advisor (Mental Health Division) at Austin Health.
A number of factors are driving the increase in violence. These include:
Alcohol and substance use and mental health issues may also be impacted by the pandemic, and are known to be risk factors for family violence.
“Despite COVID, all support systems remain in place,” Beth says.
Both Safe Steps and MensLine also offer online chat, if making a phone call isn’t an option.