A National Survey was conducted to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian domestic and family violence services and their clients. This research was conducted by QUT Centre for Justice research team comprising Kerry Carrington, Christine Morley, Shane Warren, Vanessa Ryan, Matthew Ball, Jo Clarke and Laura Vitis.
This research has now been published and a full link to the article can be found here.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports emerged that lockdowns were increasing the prevalence of domestic and family violence (DFV) in Australia and across the world. The lockdowns and restrictions were necessary to contain the pandemic. However, leaders in the domestic family violence sector expressed concerns early during 2020 that these lockdowns would lead to the escalation of domestic and family violence. Calling it a shadow pandemic, the United Nations Secretary-General urged all governments to prioritise the prevention of violence against women in their national response plan for COVID-19. To gain some insight into the Australian context, a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Centre for Justice research team conducted a nationwide survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on DFV services and their clients. Findings based on survey data from 362 participants from the DFV sector, including 1,507 qualitative responses, confirm the concerns raised early in the COVID-19 pandemic. This article provides an overview of the survey results, discusses the findings in the light of national international research and highlights the resources needed to strengthen the DFV sector in the future.