Throughout July and August, the BaptistCare HopeStreet and Counselling and Family Services teams haven't stopped.

In fact, demand has increased and local teams have changed how they are delivering care and support to clients in a COVIDSafe way.

Thanks to generous supporters and the dedication of HopeStreet staff, people living below the poverty line or with disadvantage, unemployed, or just struggling as a result of the health pandemic have had a reliable place to turn.

HopeStreet locations remain open, providing much-needed services to our clients, including phone call support to connect with people who have become isolated by the lockdown.

As lockdown has extended from Greater Sydney across regional New South Wales, HopeStreet locations have seen an expected 25% decrease in client visits, but a 47% increase when compared to the 2020 lockdown.

With food security a key focus for people doing it tough right now, HopeStreet has increased its supply of food parcels to clients by 3%, while the value of food parcels has increased dramatically - by a huge 79%.

What do all these numbers mean? Put simply, during this lockdown, more people are struggling to access basic necessities for wellbeing and safety, and are turning to places like HopeStreet for support.

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Support for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence has also continued, though a worrying silence has again descended.

Despite BaptistCare's Counselling and Family Services teams moving to video and phone sessions, it has become increasingly complex for counsellors and case workers to assist women experiencing violence in their homes. The windows of opportunity to connect with these women are often fleeting.

Paradoxically, this lockdown designed to ensure everyone's safety has a significant effect on some women who are possibly more unsafe than ever. Many of HopeStreet's clients are restricted in accessing support such as counselling or other services, reporting abuse, or caring for their own wellbeing while trapped in their home with a violent partner.

In July, the HopeStreet team share their experience on the frontline with ABC's The Drum and ABC News. Elizabeth Hukins, HopeStreet Group Manager told the ABC that homeschooling and working from home were also adding pressure to already tense environments. 

"The restrictions that have been put in place to keep people safe and healthy are also putting some people at risk, particularly women and children who are experiencing domestic violence," she said.

"There is an increase in all types of violence, but particularly that coercive control and intimidation of having a perpetrator in the house much more regularly than usual," she said. 

What hasn't changed is HopeStreet's commitment and reliability during these difficult times- remaining open, available, and doing all they can to come alongside people who need support more than ever.

Your generous donation can help our HopeStreet and Counselling teams to continue providing hope and essential services for people doing it tough in lockdown right now. Please donate today.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.