CENTRAL Victorian support services have welcomed Victoria Police's commitment to increase family violence checks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Victoria Police on Tuesday announced specialist detectives from Family Violence Investigation Units would actively check on those who have been assessed at high risk of family violence.
Centre for Non-Violence chief executive officer Margaret Augerinos said more direct contact could help those who were vulnerable.
"Calls to crisis lines and police are low at the moment, but we expect that to change as women find safe ways to contact our service," she said.
"Anything we can do to reach those who are most vulnerable or at risk at this time, is positive."
More than 100 compliance checks on high-risk perpetrators have already been conducted across the state as part of the police operation.
Police have also spoken to more than 240 affected Victorian family members.
Annie North's chief executive officer Julie Oberin said while there had been a decline in the number of women calling the refuge for support, she believed that would change.
"We're expecting a real surge in demand," she said.
"We're very anxious at the moment that women and children are being harmed and abused in their own homes and they can't tell anyone.
"We're encouraging families, friends, and co-workers to keep an eye out for those who are vulnerable. If they hear something or know something, call the police."
Ms Oberin said those who felt unsafe should know there was support available.
"Don't underestimate the risk," she said. "Trust how you're feeling.
"There is extra anxiety around being cooped up together and it can go pear shaped really quickly. The services are out there to help you."
Support is available 24 hours a day through the safe steps family violence crisis response line on 1800 015 188. The Men's Referral Service is 1300 766 491. In an emergency, call Triple Zero.
Centre for Non-Violence can also be contacted on 1800 884 292 or visit cnv.org.au/we-are-here-to-help
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