Content Warning: This article mentions Domestic and Family violence and may be confronting to some readers.
Each May, Queensland marks Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month in an effort to raise community awareness and understandings of family violence (DFV). In 2021, astounding figures from the Queensland Police revealed they responded to an average of more than 400 cases of domestic and family violence every day. This figure is at a 13% increase from the previous year and is attributed by many experts to the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic (Wordsworth 2021).
Restrictions, increased unemployment and financial stress linked to the pandemic alongside lockdowns have created a ‘perfect storm’ for these cases of violence to spike across the state (Kennedy 2020). Lack of resources have left many frontline services unable to keep up with demands for help (Kennedy 2020).
Neighbourhood Centres Queensland’s 2021 Sector Impact Report found a significant rise from 26.5% of Neighbourhood and Community Centres providing DFV assistance in 2020, to 38% in 2021. This assistance comes in many forms from short (or even extended) intervention by centre staff, funded DFV activities, support groups for those affected by DFV or developing community-based responses to DFV.
Through building deep, long-term relationships with local communities, Neighbourhood and Community Centres have become uniquely placed as a local, safe option to assist those experiencing DFV. The soft entry point provided by NCCs via programmed activities means that NCCs are often able to identify domestic and family violence in community members early for internal or external referrals for assistance. Throughout Covid, one neighbourhood centre engaged their team in performing welfare checks on families of concern, to listen and provide a supportive safety net.
“Our staff and volunteers went to visit families, not to go inside, but just to sit outside, have a conversation and check in. The staff sent a lot of emails, did video conferencing and used social media to catch up with families and provide that regular support that was needed.”
Neighbourhood Centre Coordinator, Maroochy
This May, in an effort to raise community awareness and understanding of Domestic and Family Violence, many Neighbourhood and Community Centres are hosting events:
- Mount Isa Neighbourhood Centre is hosting a DV Alert workshop by Lifeline, to help people understanding the complexities, signs and responses of DFV.
- Kyabra Community Association is holding a Pampering Event, offering free haircuts, manicures and facials to women and girls who have experienced domestic and family violence.
- Maleny Neighbourhood Centre is hosting a Candlelight Vigil and Remembrance Ceremony for those who have passed away due to DFV.
- Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre is hosting a Safer Families Community Event to raise money and awareness about DFV.
If you would like to register your own event to support and raise awareness, click here.
If you are, or know anyone experiencing Domestic and Family Violence you can contact:
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Family and domestic violence support services:
- 1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732
- Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
- Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
- Mensline: 1300 789 978
- Lifeline (24-hour Crisis Line): 131 114
Image Courtesy of Australian Government – https://www.respect.gov.au/the-campaign/media/
Written by: Taylor Bast
Published: 5 May, 2022