Elizabeth Hukins, Acting General Manager, shares the experience of our teams as they feared for the safety of women and children experiencing violence during lockdown.

For the second half of this year our HopeStreet and Counselling teams were again waiting; to hear from women, determining when and how might be a safe time to reach out, and fearing the silence.

In August we shared with ABC's The Drum and ABC News about how home schooling and working from home added pressure to already tense households, while restrictions put in place to keep people safe and healthy put some women and children at risk. Those circuit breakers of leaving the house (work, school, friends), even reaching out to support services, all came to a grinding halt.

We spoke about an increase in all types of violence, and particularly forecast that coercive control and intimidation would escalate whilst a perpetrator was in the home more permanently. It became increasingly complex for our counsellors and case workers to assist women experiencing violence. The windows of opportunity for us to connect with clients were often fleeting.

Weeks out from Christmas and we’re all beginning to re-emerge. Only time will tell what trauma women and children are carrying. What this means for our clients and us, as we reconnect and deliver services, truly waits to be seen. 

We pray for respite from the 24/7 fear some women lived through. We are profoundly hopeful that women will talk, share, and seek help that is available.

Our staff haven’t re-emerged unscathed, and we continue to support them as they go about their days as counsellors, case workers, cooks, administrators and tenancy workers. 

Our commitment remains. We continue to come alongside people with emergency relief, no interest loans, safety planning, court support, case work and counselling, and referrals to other services, including health and housing. 

We continue to welcome people, with authenticity and compassion, because we know joy can be had again and safety can be reached, even if the darkness of the shadows is nearby. We believe there’s hope, this Christmas and beyond, for women and children subject
to violence.

Read the ABC News article here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, help is available now. Phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or 000 if you are in immediate danger.

Other support services:

  • BaptistCare Counselling & Family Services 1300 130 225
  • Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800

Elizabeth Hukins

Acting General Manager