The new "stay-home" orders for Tamworth and Armidale could mean women and children are at heightened risk of domestic and family violence, with more barriers to jump than usual when seeking help.
A new report by Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW) has revealed specialist services, and their clients, have been significantly impacted by the recent Greater Sydney COVID-19 lockdown.
The report reveals 73 per cent of services have seen an increase in demand. Of those, more than half are reporting a 75-100 per cent increase in demand. Moreover, 84 per cent of services said there was an increase in the complexity of the situations for the clients referred.
Linda Townsend, Domestic Violence leader and advocate at Tamworth Family Support Services (TFSS) said going into a lockdown often can increase the risk of violence, and the severity of the violence. TFSS expect their services to feel the effects of the Tamworth LGA COVID-19 lockdown.
"We know from previous lockdowns that the rates of violence and the severity of violent acts increase, we did see a rise in numbers as as well as level of brutality last year," Ms Townsend said.
Ms Townsend said the increase in violence within the home comes down to a number of factors including financial and mental stress.
"The financial impact on a lockdown adds an additional layer of burden onto some families that are already struggling" she said.
The DVNSW report also found there had been an increase in the length of the waitlist of almost half of the services; indicating a significant rise in demand and lack of resources for Domestic Violence support.
Tamworth's Women and Children Refugee has been at full capacity for months.
"As soon as we move a family out, it is filled within a few hours," said Ms Townsend.
NSW Labor is today calling for emergency funding for frontline services dealing with increased demand for domestic and family violence support in the wake of the latest lockdown.
The report has also brought to the fore the need for a plan to be developed for ongoing funding in order to meet the increased demand services.
Jodie Harrison, Shadow Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault said:
“Domestic violence was an issue during the last lockdown and we know it’s an issue now.”
“We need more funding for frontline services who are inundated with requests for support. It’s not surprising since people have been in lockdown down for some weeks now.
“It’s creating a pressure cooker situation, placing women and children in vulnerable situations.
“And that is not even mentioning the people who can’t access services right now because they don’t feel it is safe to do so,” she said.
Linda Townsend from TFSS said if anyone in Tamworth is needing support, or immediate help, to call 000.
"If you would like additional support or info please call don't hesitate to contact TFSS on 1800073388".
You can also contact lifeline on 13 11 14.