Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) today welcomed the announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews of $20 million into interventions with adults and young people who use violence in order to keep victim survivors of family violence safe.
The COVID-19 public health crisis and associated social isolation measures have meant an increase in risk and severity of family violence presenting unique challenges to the specialist family violence support sector providing crisis support to victim-survivors during this time.
“Keeping adults and children safe from the harm of family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic requires the coordinated effort of many different agencies working with victim-survivors and with adults and young people using violence” said Tania Farha, DV Vic CEO today.
Excluding perpetrators of family violence from the family home has been policy in Victoria for many years in order to keep victim-survivors safe. This means that when it is safe to do so, victim-survivors do not have to flee their homes, pull kids out of school, leave their jobs and otherwise uproot their lives in order to flee family violence.
As Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence identified in 2016, providing accommodation for perpetrators of family violence when they are excluded from their homes can significantly improve the safety and wellbeing of victim-survivors, whereas, if a perpetrator is removed from the family home and becomes homeless as a result, it makes them more likely to try to return home or harass victim-survivors to take them back.
“Providing perpetrators who use violence with crisis accommodation enables their behaviour and actions to be monitored, minimises opportunities for them to breach Family Violence Intervention Orders and cause further harm to victim-survivors. It also importantly opens opportunities to engage with services that can support them to examine the impact of their use of violence on their families and invite them to change” Ms Farha said this afternoon.
DV Vic also welcomes the dedicated focus on adolescents who use violence in the home; this is a group that historically has not had many options for targeted support to change their behaviour and to address the root causes of their violence. We look forward to learning more about the detail of this part of the investment.
“We know that the pandemic is being ‘weaponised’ by people who use violence and used to justify and excuse coercive and controlling behaviour. Today’s announcement clearly says that COVID-19 is no excuse to use violence and abuse against family members. Despite the pandemic, if someone chooses to use family violence, there will be a broader range of interventions available to engage with them about their behaviour and focus on keeping adults and children safe from harm.”
DV Vic is pleased that the Victorian Government has responded to the increased risk of family violence have been exacerbated by the pandemic conditions, and we look forward to working with government on the implementation of this program.
See the Victorian Government press release here: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/keeping-family-violence-sight-during-coronavirus