The isolation of domestic violence

Professor of Social Work, Cathy Humphreys discusses the risks of family violence during COVID-19 isolation and which support services are working well.
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“Isolation is bad for a lot of people,” says Cathy Humphreys, Professor of Social Work at the University of Melbourne.

“It’s bad for people’s mental and physical health, it’s bad for domestic violence and child abuse,” she says. “But, of course, when you’ve got this extraordinarily virulent virus you don’t have too many choices [but to stay home to prevent its spread].”

“In Western Australia for example, the most worrying aspect of the data we are seeing is a 30 per cent decline in the calls women have been making to the helpline, even though they are potentially experiencing a lot more violence,” she says. “But they haven’t got the opportunity to be able to seek help.”

But she says there has been an international increase in the use of searching on websites and chat rooms to try and gain information.

“There’s a lesson there about expanding the ways of being able to access women and their children at a time when you’ve got increased danger,” Professor Humphreys says.

“Men have been reaching out to the men’s help line and workers in men’s behaviour-change programs have continued to contact the men individually in case management and support.

“I think we might see a bit of an avalanche of people coming out of isolation and calling for help.”



1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732 –

Men’s Referral Service – 1300 766 491 –

Lifeline – 13 11 14 –

Episode recorded: April 17, 2020.

Interviewer: Silvi Vann-Wall.

Producer, audio engineer and editor: Chris Hatzis.

Co-production: Silvi Vann-Wall and Dr Andi Horvath.

This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article