Victims of domestic violence in Mackay are left with nowhere to go as refuge housing hits crisis point.
Victims of domestic violence in Mackay are left with nowhere to go as refuge housing hits crisis point.

DV services prepared for expected increase

DOMESTIC violence services in Gladstone are assuring ­residents it's "business as usual" during the COVID-19 ­pandemic.

With current laws requiring anyone from overseas or interstate to isolate for 14 days and restricting public gatherings to two people, and with people being urged to stay home, a spike in domestic violence is feared.

Gladstone Women's Health manager Melissa Cook said history and research suggested the organisation would experience an increase in domestic and family violence during this national crisis.

"We are committed to supporting those at risk and the vulnerable," Ms Cook said.

"We have reshaped our ­service-delivery model to enable us to provide these critical services during the coronavirus pandemic. We are encouraging counselling appoint­ments via telephone, and the centre remains open to assist with those ­requiring our help with a DV crisis response."

Gladstone Police Sergeant Vicki Dredge, chairwoman of Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Family Violence, said services were still available to help people.

"We'll still help with counselling, and applications to get orders in place," she said.

"It just might be done differently in the current climate."

She said if anyone was stuck in quarantine, arrangements would be made to keep them safe.

"We don't expect people to stay in their homes where they're not safe," she said.

For anyone seeking help:

Gladstone Women's Health 1800 749 222

DV Connect Womensline 1800 811 811

DV Connect Mensline 1800 600 636

Policelink 131 444 or 000 in an emergency.

 

Advice from Women's Health:

Some key points to consider if you must stay at home with a violent partner:

•Identify safe areas of the house where there are ways to escape if possible

•If possible, always have a phone charged and accessible, with phone numbers to call.

•Call the police on 000 if things escalate and you are concerned for your safety. Notify the police if there are any COVID-19 concerns on site.

•Let trusted friends and neighbours know of your situation and develop of plan and visual signal for when you need help.

•Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fuelled.

•Your life and your children's lives are important.

•If you must leave for safety reasons, then do so.

•If you have been exposed or you are sick, park in a safe location and stay on the call while contacting 13HEALTH (13432584) for further advice to organise to get tested and to discuss quarantine options.



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