The news of a potential vaccine against COVID-19 is promising news in what has been a challenging year; however another deadly pandemic remains rampant in our community, and the probability of stamping this one out lies with us.
Family violence has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. The E-Safety Commission has recently published statistics which include:
- 1 in 4 people are emotionally abused by their current or former partner;
- 1 in 3 people are physically abused by their current or former partner;
- 98% of reported cases involve technology; and
- Image-based abuse has increased 238% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perpetrators have used information obtained from Opal cards, fitness trackers, E-tags and MyHeath records to gain information about victims. During COVID-19 perpetrators have become more creative, and a pattern has emerged of perpetrators using tracking on parcel delivery to obtain the new address of victims.
The pervasiveness of family violence in the community and its impact on separating families, played a part in the decision of the Family Law Courts to establish a special COVID-19 list in April of this year. Under the scheme, matters of an urgent nature arising from the COVID-19 pandemic (many of which involved family violence) were listed before the Court within 3 business days of filing.
While a vaccine for this pandemic may not be in sight, we can all play a part to address the prevalence of family violence in our community through our own attitudes and actions.