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REPORT: Family Violence and Alcohol During COVID-19

The seriousness of alcohol’s role in family and intimate partner violence is evident in an Australian-first survey of specialists working in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In partnership with FARE, Women’s Safety NSW today released the report, Family violence and alcohol during COVID-19, which assesses the caseload of a range of family violence specialists in crisis support, counselling, court advocacy and supported accommodation, including those with an Aboriginal, multicultural and disability-focus.

Key insights in Family violence and alcohol during COVID-19

  • A total of 53 frontline women’s specialist domestic and family violence workers from 27 family and domestic violence services in New South Wales (NSW) were surveyed between 4 and 8 May 2020.
  • Nearly half (47 per cent) of the respondents reported an increase in their case load since COVID-19 restrictions began, 38 per cent reported no increase or decrease and 15 per cent reported a decrease.
  • The most common reason for a reported increase in case load was demand from new clients (56 per cent), followed by demand from existing clients (20 per cent).
  • Around half (51 per cent) reported that there has been an increase in the involvement of alcohol in family violence situations since the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, while 40 per cent said alcohol’s involvement had not changed and none of the respondents reported decreased involvement.
  • Current issues with alcohol use and family violence identified included:
    • increased alcohol use because of changed circumstances
    • alcohol use increasing verbal and physical abuse
    • alcohol adding to financial strain on the family.