“Her partner did not believe in medical treatment. He forced her to wash her hands until they were red raw.”

This is just one example of how COVID-19 has added a whole new dimension to domestic violence. Perpetrators are using the pandemic as a form of physical and psychological abuse to threaten and coerce their partners.

Support agencies are bracing for a 30 percent increase in demand; if perpetrators feel powerless due to circumstances they cannot control, they will commonly seek further ways to control their partner. As victims are trapped at home with their abusers, an already volatile situation is turned into a pressure cooker due to coronavirus restrictions, with caseworkers seeing a recent surge in domestic and family violence cases.

Most women seeking help face financial hardship as well as physical and psychological abuse. They are especially vulnerable during this period of social distancing and isolation. Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter’s (HKWS) dedicated staff are on hand, delivering comprehensive case management programs to women in need on a daily basis, assisting them to get their lives back on track, whilst adhering to rigorous policies and procedures that put the physical safety and mental health of clients and staff first.

Last year, HKWS housed 58 clients but was forced to turn away 105 women because of a lack of resources. They also anticipate numbers to increase by 30 percent on last year as a direct result of COVID-19.

HKWS encourages you to send a message to the women they work with each day, that they are seen, are valued and are important.

$20 – Buy her a meal
$40 – Invest in her individualised case management
$69 – Ensure she has a bed and meal
$109 – Give her a full day and night of care and support

We at CWA of NSW Galston, believe that even though this is a confronting matter, you may think you can’t do anything about while stuck in the confines of your own home, we all really can make a difference. Perpetrators must feel like they can’t hide behind closed doors, that the wider community is still looking out for their victims.

Even if you can’t donate much, or at all, for that matter, there are ways in which you can support people at risk of abuse in your community.

For more information visit, we will be posting more on this over the coming weeks.