Domestic Violence and Coronavirus – Don’t Suffer in Silence

People are increasingly being encouraged to stay home in self-isolation and practice social distancing in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Furthermore, there are mandatory 14-day self-isolations if you have been overseas recently or in contact with someone who had the Coronavirus. However, there is concern around the issues of domestic violence and coronavirus isolation measures.

What If Home Isn’t Safe?

For people who are experiencing domestic violence, these Coronavirus isolation lockdowns, whether voluntary or mandatory, have trapped them in their homes with their abusers. Their abusers have yet another excuse to keep their spouse trapped and isolated from the world and from any friend or family support network that they may have.

From this, it is a grave concern that domestic violence incidents will spike during this period of medical crisis. It is important to remember that domestic violence takes many forms, including physical, emotional and financial abuse.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please do not let these measures make you stay in that environment – SEEK HELP. When it comes to domestic violence and coronavirus, please remember that there ARE people who will help you, including the police and legal representatives, during this time.

Pullos Lawyers can help you legally and refer you to the appropriate support systems, emergency housing and psychologists. We assure you that we will be open during our normal business hours during any health crisis because we have the ability and systems to work remotely.

If you are not quite ready to take the next steps legally, we highly recommend the following two (2) applications developed by Women's Legal Services Qld that you can download on your phone to find helpful domestic violence support information at your fingertips:

1. Refocus; and
2. Penda.

We have explained briefly explained these applications below.

Re-focus Application for your Phone – Domestic Violence Assistance

The Re-focus App provides people with legal information about domestic violence including how to apply for a Domestic Violence Order, arrangements for children, financial and property matters, options for reaching a legal agreement and safe accommodation. The App also provides information in relation to where a victim of domestic violence may receive free legal advice and refers people to use the domestic violence telephone line for support.

The Re-focus App also has a free test that a person may take so that they can self-assess their situation and whether they are in a domestically violent relationship. It occurs often that domestic violence victims become accustomed to such behaviours and do not recognise that such treatment or behaviours are abusive. This test breaks the ice and gives confirmation and reassurance to those who need it most.

This App has requires password so that in the event your phone is stolen by the perpetrator, then they cannot access the App. The App also stores the information provided to the user so that they can quickly refer back to that information at any time.

PENDA Application – Domestic Violence Assistance and Financial Matters

If you or a loved one are in a domestically violent relationship and are worried financially of how to break free from the relationship, an application called PENDA provides sound advice in relation to how to access emergency money, crisis payments and emergency housing. Another feature of PENDA is that it assists the user with financial safety planning, which includes how to separate your finances from your spouse as discretely as possible.

The PENDA application also provides general legal information in relation to domestic violence matters and refers its users to providers of free legal advice to domestic violence victims. This feature is similar to that of the Re-focus application which also provides this information.

We recommend that you download the PENDA and Re-focus if you would like access to free domestic violence information. A feature of the Re-focus application is that you have access to a free online quiz to self-assess your situation and whether you are in a domestically violent relationship, which is not available through PENDA. The PENDA application is more tailored towards financial assistance and how to financially plan ahead when leaving the relationship.

Other Support Regimes – Help Hotlines

If you would like to speak to someone that’s a counsellor or crisis professional about domestic violence and Coronavirus, or domestic violence in any situation, White Ribbon provides a list of services and their phone numbers.

What Next?

Please remember that if you are suffering from domestic violence abuse, do not suffer in silence - there are support networks and programs that can get you the help you need; you must reach out for help.

We highly recommend the above support and information programs but please note that there are many more to choose from.

If you require urgent assistance, please call 000.

Still Have Some Questions About Domestic Violence and Coronavirus?

If you have self-assessed your situation and would like legal advice in regards to domestic violence and Coronavirus, or any other domestic violence issue, Pullos Lawyers are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07 5526 3646 for a free 15 minute confidential discussion with one of our solicitors. We can also assist you with preparing for separation, children's custody issues, and divorce.