People experiencing family violence are assured support is still available, despite the threat of COVID-19 forcing organisations to change the way they deliver services.
Robyn Trainor, from the Centre for Non-Violence, said the service was still working with clients on risk and safety assessments, and follow-ups.
Ms Trainor said CNV's staff was also able to help those who needed to leave their homes at this time.
Women's refuge Annie North will continue to deliver services using telephones, technology, and social distancing practices.
"We are still providing a crisis response both during hours and after hours," chief executive officer Julie Oberin said.
"We can provide emergency refuge if we have a vacancy, or access to crisis accommodation which may be a hotel.
"We can also offer material aid such as personal care items, food and clothes.
"All of our client support workers and case managers are ready to provide risk assessment, risk management, case management, fast tracking to other supports and advocacy"
The Centre Against Sexual Assault Central Victoria is providing counselling and support sessions over the telephone rather than face-to-face, and will soon introduce video counselling.
Information for professionals and others wanting to support someone affected by sexual violence is also available over the phone.
Research shows that family violence and violence against women often rises in times of crisis.
Ms Trainor said previous crises, such as bushfires and floods, had resulted in more reports of family violence, particularly after the emergency was over.
Ms Oberin said the social isolation would give perpetrators new opportunities to abuse.
"Forced isolation, losing their job or income, not being able to get basic supplies, panic, anxiety, worry, stress, the children being kept home, losing support from family members such as grandparents along with an increased lack of community accountability regarding the abuser, because the doors are truly closed this time, will all heighten the prevalence and severity of abuse in homes and increasingly put women's and children's lives at risk," she said.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said on Thursday that incidents of family violence would increase.
"We know that's an area that will rise in this current emergency, because people are home together, family units are home together, spending more time together, that tension that that creates will produce more family violence that we will need to respond to, as well as all the support agencies that work in this sector as well... At the moment, we're not seeing that rise yet, but it's something that will come, I think, as people settle into a longer period in isolation," Chief Commissioner Ashton said.
Our Watch chief executive officer Patty Kinnersly said such factors as heightened stress, isolation and financial pressures could compound the underlying conditions that resulted in violence.
But Ms Kinnersly and Ms Trainor said these factors did not cause such violence: rather, it was driven by gender inequality.
Blaming these stressors for family violence, Ms Trainor said, minimised and excused it.
Ms Kinnersly said women were disproportionately affected in times of crisis, because they were more likely to be in vulnerable jobs than men, underemployed and have less access to financial resources.
Ms Trainor urged people to look out for one another, and said anyone concerned someone else might be experiencing family violence should contact police.
Family violence services across Australia were underfunded and understaffed before the pandemic, Ms Oberin said, but were now facing additional challenges and costs.
"We would welcome additional funds to help with these costs along with cash donations to help us source what we need for clients when we need them," she said.
She urged the federal government to continue funding WESNET and the delivery of the Safe Connections program, which provided smartphones to women and children affected by family violence.
Currently, the funding is due to expire on June 30.
Ms Oberin also said she hoped a local business would be able to receive essential items for Annie North and other frontline services, with the organisation in desperate need of hand sanitisers, disinfectants and toilet paper.
Support was also needed for staff who had had to quickly adapt to the health crisis.
"Any business who would like to approach me to provide personal well-being support for our emergency services front line staff would be welcome," Ms Oberin said.
If you or someone you know is affected by family violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
In central Victoria, the Centre for Non-Violence can be reached on 5430 3000.
The Sexual Assault Crisis Line is available on 1800 806 292.
The Men's Referral Service provides counselling to men who carry out family violence, on 1300 766 491.
La Trobe University students who experience family violence or know someone who is, can contact the Speak Up service on 9479 8988.
In an emergency, call 000.
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