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UPDATE: Impacts on COVID-19 on Domestic and Family Violence in NSW

Last week, Women’s Safety NSW published a report detailing the impacts of COVID-19 on domestic and family violence (DFV) and the frontline services who respond to it. A survey was undertaken of frontline workers, coordinators and service providers across the state to establish their concerns.

This week, Women’s Safety NSW has again surveyed frontline workers and service providers about the evolving challenges which are arising amid the current health crisis.

Whilst this new information stems from a smaller sample size of respondents (40), it reinforces the key issues emerging in the wake of COVID-19, and indicates clear patterns in the way the pandemic is beginning to impact on women and children experiencing DFV.

1.   Key Points

  • Frontline services continue to report increasing client numbers since the outbreak of COVID-19
  • A majority of survey respondents report an increase in the complexity of client issues since the outbreak of COVID-19
  • Concerningly, there was a substantial increase in the percentage of survey respondents who identified violence being reported for the first time.
  • There was also a significant increase in the percentage of workers who were seeing women reporting violence relating specifically to COVID-19.
  • Furthermore an increased percentage of respondents identified insufficient service availability as a key issue facing clients.
  • Access to additional support/casework to support complex clients, and access to income and material needs remain the two most significant service gaps for women followed by temporary accommodation and safe technologies for women.
  • Frontline workers continue to struggle with changes to procedure, and face barriers when working from home. Resource packages and additional staffing is urgently needed.