With family violence rates increasing in Boroondara during the COVID-19 pandemic, local police and support services are urging victims and those at risk to seek help.
In the year ending March 2021, family violence reports to Boroondara police were up 16%, with a total of 1,046 incidents reported.
In the same period, Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS) reported that on average, 30% of victim survivors who engaged with the service were seeking help for the first time. During stage 3 and 4 lockdowns, this grew to 60%.
EDVOS CEO Christine Mathieson says its specialist family violence advocates are seeing similar patterns as last year, “with an increase in complexity of family violence police referrals combined with higher levels of risk, as victim survivors and perpetrators are forced to spend more time together in their homes”.
Boroondara Local Area Commander Inspector Craig Pearson says while stay-at-home orders are important to prevent the spread of COVID-19, police know home is not the safest place for everybody.
“It is important to know if you or your children are at risk of harm, you can leave your home to seek support and assistance no matter what level of COVID-19 restrictions are in place,” says Inspector Pearson.
He encourages all victims of family violence to report to police, including those affected by assaults, financial control, controlling behaviour, coercive control, elder abuse and visa abuse.
"I am passionate about providing victims protection and support."
Boroondara Mayor Cr Garry Thompson says Council is committed to working with Victoria Police, the Boroondara Family Violence Network, external agencies and the wider community “to help build a future free from family violence”.
“Family violence continues to have a significant and devastating impact on our community,” says Cr Thompson.
“It doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of income, age and cultural background.”
Where to find help
October is Community Safety Month – a reminder that everyone has a role in making our communities safer. If you or someone you know is
experiencing family violence, we urge you to reach out for help.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, contact 000 for police assistance.
For a full list of support services available, visit our Family violence page.