COVID-19 and family/intimate partner violence

“We know that intimate partner/family violence increases during times of widespread social crisis. Existing violence might increase in severity, or it might be the first time that someone experiences harm. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, we are all being encouraged to socially distance and isolate ourselves at home. For many people experiencing harm, home may not be the safest place. Even though the COVID-19 public health crisis means that we are now spending less time with each other, how do we still support our friends, family and community members who are experiencing family and intimate partner violence at this time?”


This resource, produced by Undercurrent Victoria Community Education Project, seeks to support community based support and safety planning for those experiencing family/intimate partner violence at this time, particularly in reference to social distancing/social isolation.

We would appreciate hearing from any practitioners or family members/friends who are finding ways to support others in relation to these issues at this time. 


A number of anonymous responses  have been generously shared with us … these are from family members in situations during COVID-19 lock down where calling the Police is not an option (for various reasons). They are shared below in the hope they may offer company and ideas to other families in similar situations.   

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Dulwich

    My 5yr little brother asks me – do you have the number of the police?

    I say, I have forgotten what their number is …

    I know it. Press – zero, zero, zero. Call them so they can take our parents away.

    Let’s call Uncle Jo and see if he can help, I reply.

    We called him and asked if he had some extra toilet paper rolls due to the shortage at supermarkets during COVID? He has come to understand this is our code word for HELP!
    Because he can’t visit, he then usually calls our landline number (our parents ignore their mobiles when they are fighting) and speaks to my parents. This can calm them down. They are curious and surprised by Uncle Jo’s timing each time!

  2. Dulwich

    My dad tends to pick on my mum a lot. Even more during the lock down. He just nit-picks. I understand he mustn’t be feeling good about himself but that’s just an excuse for his poor behaviour. It’s like he gets some sort of control having power over her, when his life is feeling out of control at the moment. It really sux. When he is in a mood, Mum can’t seem to do anything right. She has learnt to respond by being quiet or sometimes she explodes back.

    I have created some diversion techniques. If dad comes in from the garden, I quickly step in and ask him, what did you create in the garden today? If he starts asking mum questions that we know will lead to an explosion, I SMS my brother to call him asap, so he can be distracted. Another strategy I use is to play his favourite religious verses or to put on the TV really loudly. Then I ask him to tell me, what’s happening in the middle eastern world?

    Please don’t judge me for what I do until you understand the options I am choosing from. And if you judge me I think it defines who you are, not who I know I am. I will never call the police on my dad. He needs support and not to be bullied by the police. We can’t afford to leave dad. Mum can’t speak the language properly or read or write. I will continue to find diversions until I see other options that work for my family.

  3. Dulwich

    When my sister calls me up and tells me her husband has bashed her again, I secretly cry on the phone. In the past I could get her out of the house and we could go for a walk or to the shops.

    I am scared if she stays with him, he will kill her or she will eventually kill herself. I feel powerless. If I say to her to ‘leave him and come stay with me’ she gets super angry at me for putting more pressure on her. If I say, ‘what do you need right now?’ She also gets super angry because she says if she knew she wouldn’t have called.

    I feel scared and powerless, maybe just like her. The way I respond now is to unhappily go along with where she is at. I don’t tell her that. I just listen and be there for her. With all this violence at home and being trapped because of COVID, she is still calling me. I imagine I am like her safety net, maybe holding her and helping her bounce back.

    After those calls from my sister I call my other sister for a download.

Leave a Reply