As the ghastly coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc in most countries, there has been a sharp increase in worldwide reported cases of domestic violence. In Australia alone, significantly, there has been a surge in the use of anti-domestic violence helps and chat services depicting the gloom of domestic abuse. Like the rest of the world, domestic violence in Australia at any point in time is a cause of concern. In a survey conducted in New South Wales in Australia, 40% of frontline workers reported a massive surge in help requests with violence growing in intensity and complication.
There have been several instances, even in history, that women at different times were forced to experience domestic violence in any disaster or emergency. Women have been subjected to physical, sexual, and economic abuse, too, at different times in their partners’ hands or close ones. For instance, during the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, there was a considerable spike in domestic violence cases for the first time, as well as an aggravation of violence in the already abusive relationships.
Pandemics like COVID-19 have the potential to worsen violence within the four walls of homes and other forms of violence against women. The rising violence cases against female frontline and healthcare workers, migrant or domestic workers, etc. have distinctly depicted this fact. Moreover, experts have also highlighted that harassment incited by ICT induced techniques, xenophobia-related violence, and diverse forms of violence in public and online spaces is more prevalent in such situations, increasing the risk of the intensity of sexual exploitation.
One of the horrifying aspects of the lockdown phases in countries where the deadly disease has spread out far and near is that it increases violence and abuse on women. In regular times, usually, when the partners move out of the home to work, they get comparatively lesser time to be home with the women. But, during the lockdown stages, when remote work culture has become the ‘new normal,’ women have to spend more time with the abuser in the close quarters of their homes. Such proximity has led to a spike in the cases. With unemployment and panic looming large because of the pandemic, the nature and degree of such domestic violence in Australia can be more disastrous.
It is tough for the victims of domestic violence to stand up and voice out their plights. It happens mostly because the abuser is usually a very close partner or a loved one who has even gone to the extent of creating an envelope of fear around the victims. Even if the victims at some point gather the courage to do it, they might also not have access to resources or money as financial freedom is often curbed in such cases. If you are aware of a relative or friend or someone close to you who has been trying to cope with such a critical situation offering a helping hand could be the best thing to do. You could also get in touch with us at WA Suffragettes Equal Pay to help you guide your friend to stand up against such cruel intimidation and violence.