20 July 2020
Last month, we sent our first member-only newsletter. Back then, it looked like Australia had the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Oh, how we long for those days.
With a large resurgence of COVID-infection rates in Victoria, and worrying cases in locations in Sydney, we know that this is not over.
We also know that the risks of family violence across our communities that we have been warning about has eventuated. Earlier this week, the Australian Institute of Criminology released research with shocking findings – almost one in 10 Australian women in a relationship have experienced domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis.
These times of stress and disaster further demonstrate the value and commitment of our sector.
COVID-19 outbreak and Melbourne’s community housing
As most would know, Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are in lockdown with a second wave of COVID-19 infections. The progression towards state-wide stage 3 restrictions was marked by ‘hard lockdown’ measures imposed on community housing towers in Melbourne’s inner north.
Like Australia, these towers are home to people from a range of backgrounds, including people who have called them home for many years, people who haven’t been there long, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, older Australians.
As a sector, we’re fortunate to meet these people with a dedication to care and humanity because each resident in those towers plays a vital role in developing and driving Australia’s dynamic society.
All residents have a different story to tell. Some present with complex mental health issues; some carry a lifetime of hardship. It is important to acknowledge the difficulties many of these residents faced being kept, particularly those with past traumas which would lead to fear of constant interactions with police.
It is important to acknowledge the language barriers to many first generation Australians living across our communities. Women’s Health North has translated advice regarding family violence victim support that is available into Amharic, Cantonese, Hindi, Mandarin, Somali and Vietnamese. No to Violence is also in the process of having resources translated and printed [insert link to story about resources].
Melbourne and Mitchell round two restrictions – an update
Last week No to Violence reached out to members with updates and offers of support to members as Victoria re-entered stage 3 lockdown restrictions. We feel greatly for those who have had to retreat back into online facilitation and empathise with the associated difficulties.
Advice from Family Safety Victoria confirms that the essential support groups that can continue to operate include; drug and alcohol support groups, family violence support groups, behaviour change groups and groups of a therapeutic nature. The support groups can have no more than 20 people allowed in each separate space, subject to the four square metre rule, in addition to those required to operate the group or facility. Further advice on Victoria’s restriction levels can be found at: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19