Local centre notices increase in DFV referrals in lockdown
THERE were 355 domestic violence order applications started in Bundaberg Magistrate's Court this financial year to March 31.
According to Queensland Courts data, this places us on the list as one of the top places in the state with the most applications lodged.
Bundy makes a few other lists as well.
It's number 17 on the list in terms of contravention of DVO with 361 charges lodged and 16th for the number of flagged domestic and family violence offences, with 87 charges lodged.
It might sound like a drop in the ocean, but Bundaberg is on the list as one of the biggest contributors to DFV statistics in the state.
As part of Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month fell within the coronavirus lockdown this year, the NewsMail reached out to police and EDON Place Domestic and Family Violence Centre to see if they had noticed any trends.
While the number of reported assaults in Bundaberg jumped 85.7 per cent between February and March, when the lockdown kicked in, but police were unable to confirm whether charges had been laid, nor whether this jump was related to domestic violence or not.
However, they did ask the community to report incidents of domestic violence, opening up a new method of reporting the crime.
A spokeswoman from EDON Place said the organisation had noticed a slight increase in police referrals between March and April this year.
"We are committed to keeping clients safe and supported and to ensure that we are here when you need us," the spokeswoman said.
"EDON Place understands the impacts of COVID-19 on families and relationships and have introduced measures focusing on protecting the health and safety of our clients and staff.
"This has involved moving all of our services where practicable to phone, Zoom and Skype."
EDON Place continue to provide the following services:
• Women & children's counselling, assistance and support services
• Court based services in Bundaberg, Childers and Gayndah
• Risk assessment and safety planning
• Home security safety upgrades
• Referrals to support agencies
• Temporary supported accommodation - assistance and support services for women and children
• Perpetrator intervention program - Men's counselling, men's court support and Responsible & Respectful Choices - Men's program.
• North Burnett Services - Domestic and Family Violence Support Services - Gayndah, Eidsvold & Monto regions.
"Whilst our Women's Group (Safety Horizons Program) and Parenting Programs (123-Magic, Triple P) - have been put on hold at this time, we continue to engage clients with one-on-one support through phone, Zoom and Skype," the spokeswoman said.
"EDON Place continues to closely follow all information and directions from authorities and our management team is monitoring and responding to COVID-19 on a daily basis."
And in an effort to help support services keep up with expected demand, the state government provided a $5.5 million boost last month.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there were serious concerns for victims of domestic and family violence during the coronavirus crisis due to increased financial pressures and social isolation.
"I want people to know that they do have options, they don't have to stay in a violent household," the Premier said.
"We're boosting support for essential government-funded services, so people have someone to turn to and somewhere else to go if they need."
Statewide DVConnect crisis services received $1.5 million, $1.7 million went toward crisis accommodation needs, $1.8m went to enhance specialist services and $500,000 went toward an awareness campaign.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said the risk of domestic and family violence was growing as more families faced financial pressures caused by job losses.
"We also know that perpetrators in forced isolation with their victims could use the health crisis to exert greater control, fear and intimidation," she said.
"I have been holding regular discussions with key stakeholders and have listened to their concerns.
"This funding package has been developed as an immediate response to address the most pressing areas of need."
Should you have any queries or require support, you can contact EDON Place via:
Phone: 4153 6820
1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
24hr Crisis Women's Line: 1800 811 811
Men's Line: 1800 600 636