We Are Here, For You

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

. . . your safety is our priority

Need urgent help?

CNV can be contacted on:
1800 884 292

The 24-hour statewide safe steps family violence crisis response line is:
1800 015 188

In an emergency call: 
000

As we are all being asked to stay at home, we know that’s not always the safest place for women and children to be.

That’s why what we do has not changed.

Ensuring women and children are safe has always been our priority.

The world has changed, but we are still here

We know this is a difficult time for many women and children, who are spending more time behind closed doors, with their abuser.

Contact with their support networks has also become significantly restricted.

That’s why we need to be here. Our services are being delivered differently, but we are still here - so women know they can get the support they need, not only to be safe from a global pandemic, but also the crisis that is domestic violence.

Our commitment to gender and social equality in a violence free world has not changed

As we respond during this current COVID-19 crisis, the most important message is for women to know help is available. They are not alone – and they should not carry the burden to protect themselves and remain safe.  There is never an excuse for violence.

That’s why we are all here – though differently.

( * Scroll below to find information on what you may be experiencing, how we can help and how you can support someone experiencing violence - along with answers to some frequently asked questions )

What you may be experiencing

Social isolation is dangerous for many women and children. It is a form of coercive control and a tactic that has long been used by abusers.

For example, he may:

  • Restrict or monitor a woman’s movements, and shut them off from their friends, family and other support networks. 
  • Insist on being present during conversations with others, or insult her and make her feel guilty for ‘choosing’ to spend time speaking with them, rather than him. 
  • Monitor their partner’s communications devices and social media accounts. Or, repeatedly check in on them. 
  • Limit a woman’s movements in her own home, restricting her to only some parts of the house. 
  • Set routines a woman must strictly adhere to. 
  • Control what their partner reads, or relocate her away from all she knows. 
  • Control her finances.
  • Withhold sanitiser, disinfectant, cleaning products, food or medicine.
  • Use the pandemic to ‘pool resources’ and move in together, or use that as a reason to reconcile the relationship.
  • Tell their former partner they have nowhere else to stay.
  • Deny their partner access to healthcare.
  • Be critical of their partner’s parenting, and create a feeling where the woman is ‘walking on eggshells’.
  • Breach intervention orders, and find excuses relating to the current COVID-19 restrictions, for doing so.
  • Use COVID-19 as an excuse to ignore parenting orders, or increase demands for custody of the children.
  • Use misinformation about the pandemic to control or increase fear, or limit access to available support.
  • Increase threats of suicide/self harm, and/or expressions of hopelessness.

  • Threaten you or your children with contracting the COVID-19 virus.

But there are things you can do – which we can talk to you about.

( * Scroll below for frequently asked questions )

When you contact us

We will work with you to understand your needs. You can choose to remain anonymous, or share your name with us.

One of our support workers will talk to you over the phone about why you are calling. They will also want to ensure you are safe, and understand the level of risk you may be experiencing.

The support worker may talk about a safety plan with you, or discuss some of our services and what other options might be available depending on your circumstances and wishes. 

You will always have options.

Those options may include:

  • Placing you in crisis accommodation.
  • Placing your partner/former partner in accommodation so you (and if necessary, your children) can remain in your own home.
  • Supporting you to remain in your own home, with modifications such as security doors.
  • Offering non-legal advice about intervention orders and connecting you with legal services.
  • Offering non-legal advice about court processes.
  • Assessing your ongoing financial risk, and providing support or linking you with financial planners.
  • Assessing your immediate financial needs and providing financial support.
  • Providing you with basic living necessities.
  • Linking you with other services.
  • Assessing your technology safety.

Your questions answered

We are fielding a wide range of questions at this time. Here we have tried to answer a number of the most common queries.

Click on each of the questions below to see more information.

I think my friend or family member may be experiencing violence, what should I do?

This is a particularly difficult time for women and children experiencing domestic or family violence. It is important we stay connected with those we know, or believe to be, at risk. The most important thing you can do is believe a woman when she shares her story with you, and ask how you can support her.  

Someone living in an abusive relationship may stop communicating during this time, or when speaking with you they may be anxious or express concern about their partner becoming angry. 

It can be difficult to know how to help, but some helpful strategies could include:

  • Listen without judgement.
  • Don't make excuses for the abuse - which can be physical, but also psychological.
  • Don't question their choices - and understand that for many reasons, they may not be ready to leave. For many women, leaving a relationship is the most dangerous time.
  • Find practical ways to help - for example, delivering groceries or keeping copies of private documents, and offering your home as a safe place to escape to.
  • Help the person prepare a safety plan.
  • In an emergency, call 000.

The following websites provide information on how you might be able to help:

https://www.dvrcv.org.au/help-advice/guide-for-families-friends-and-neighbours
https://www.safesteps.org.au/understanding-family-violence/information-for-family-friends/
https://www.1800respect.org.au/help-and-support/supporting-someone
The ABC also reported this helpful advice: Helping Women at Risk of Domestic Violence during the coronavirus pandemia.

How are you advocating during COVID-19?

We have joined with Gender Equity Victoria and more than 70 other organisations committed to gender equity in supporting a joint statement calling for State and Federal Governments to recognise the gendered impacts of COVID-19.

The statement also includes a list of 10 things government can do to address the impacts of COVID19 on women and gender diverse people. 
The full statement and list of supporting organisations can be found, here.