Staying at home during the current global pandemic has highlighted a grim reality for many. Home is not a safe place for the many Australians who live with family and domestic violence.
Services Australia has contact with many people affected by family and domestic violence. The launch of the Family and Domestic Violence Strategy 2020-23 comes at a time when people are reaching out and needing support more than ever.
Director of Services Australia’s Family Safety Team, Ange Ford, says the new strategy outlines the agency’s ongoing commitment to standing against family and domestic violence.
“Through this current crisis with COVID-19, we’ve seen just how important it is for Australians to have access to the right information and the right support,” Ms Ford said.
“We know people in isolation may be spending longer periods of time with their abuser. Before COVID-19, a person living with violence could get some respite at their workplace, or by checking in with friends. Now many feel trapped at home, where it’s unsafe to even pick up the phone and ask for help.
“In recent months, we’ve seen increasing numbers of people accessing our family and domestic violence web content. Sessions viewing servicesaustralia.gov.au/domesticviolence in April were more than triple that of February.
“Our new strategy demonstrates our commitment to provide support and information when someone in our community needs it,” she said.
Services Australia launched its first Family and Domestic Violence Strategy in 2013. The new strategy builds on its strong foundations and key learnings.
“Since writing the first strategy, we’ve learned so much,” Ms Ford said.
“We know more about the behaviour of perpetrators, the drivers of family and domestic violence, and the warning signs. We’ve also seen the ways new technology like smartphones can be used to stalk, harass, intimidate and control.
“The new strategy directly addresses coercive control. It also covers primary prevention, which means stopping the violence before it happens, as well as respect and support for older Australians, who can be very vulnerable to abuse.
“We‘ve reaffirmed our commitment to supporting our staff. They’re trained to refer customers affected by family and domestic violence to support services within the community.
“We work with these services to place customers at the centre of our approach, which is why another important element of our strategy is collaboration.
“We work alongside our referral partners, and local, state and national community service providers to drive change and stand against family and domestic violence in Australia.
“One of our aims is to continue to share the work we’ve done in this space with other government departments, including our ‘Enough’ brand, which is well-known within our agency.
“We want our colleagues across government to know we can talk with them about how they can implement our strategy into the work they do for Australians.
“As public servants, we want to declare in one voice: ‘Family and domestic violence: It’s time to say enough’.
“This new strategy will help us achieve these goals.”
In this podcast, Director of our Family Safety Team, Ange Ford talks to Hank Jongen about how Services Australia is working with other Government and community organisations to help people who are living with violence and abuse. Together, we stand against violence in any form.
- Our Family and Domestic Violence Strategy 2020-23 is available on our website
- Find out about the payments, services and referrals we offer if you’re experiencing family and domestic violence.
- You can use our Payment and Service Finder to find local support services. This includes housing and legal services, and services for separated parents.
- 1800RESPECT is the national family and domestic violence counselling service. You can contact them for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 737 732 or go to 1800RESPECT.org.au
- MensLine Australia is the national telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. You can contact them for help on 1300 789 978 or go to mensline.org.au