While rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) are notoriously difficult to track—those impacted may forgo seeking outside help in order to stay safe, or carefully weigh the pros and cons of asking—the first national survey of domestic and family violence agencies and their clients has revealed that rates of domestic violence are in fact surging amid COVID-19 lockdowns: Most service providers saw a surge in demand, and nearly half said their clients reported an increase in controlling behaviours.
"We can certainly say that there was a shadow pandemic in Australia in domestic family violence," Kerry Carrington from QUT said.
Mary’s House Services, a grassroots organisation driven and funded by the community to provide quality services for women and children who have experienced domestic violence, is partnering with the Mater Hospital and inviting the community to come together to raise awareness and funds for women and children escaping domestic violence by participating in an annual 10km walk.
While this year, due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the walk will be virtual, it asks the community to walk in the shoes of women impacted by domestic violence and commit to a challenge.
Here are the steps you need to take part:
- Register for Mary's Challenge for the month of October:
i) INDIVIDUAL - 76,000 steps per week (in honour of the 76 women and children that lost their lives to DV in 2020)
ii) TEAM/FAMILY - 1.6m steps in October (to represent the 1.6m women who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15)
iii) COMPANY - 2.2m steps in October (to represent the 2.2m women who have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner since the age of 15)
- Register for Mary's Walk (actually or virtually depending on restrictions)
Register to complete the Mary’s House Walk on Sunday 31 October. Subject to approvals, the walk will commence at Milson Park and end at Reid Park and back to Milson Park. Total of 10kms.
- Donate a prize for the winning participants.
- Get a team together to join the challenge.
- Sponsor the event by pledging to match all donations raised (needs to be finalised by 31 August).
- Pledge to match your company’s donations.
Through Mary’s House refuge, the Daisy Centre, and other services, Mary’s House offers professional support, accommodation, and case management services to women, while they navigate options before, during and after leaving an abusive relationship. In the last 12 months, Mary’s House Services has provided support to over 70 families. Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the increasing reports of domestic violence in our community, Mary’s House Services is meeting a significant need.