Shine sees rapid rise in 'brutal' domestic violence calls since lockdown

Shine sees rapid rise in 'brutal' domestic violence calls since lockdown
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Domestic violence non-profit Shine says it has seen more "brutal" violence and a doubling of calls from women who need help since the first lockdown began.

Shine says the "significant increase" in calls since April have meant its refuges are full and women and children have been put up in temporary motel accommodation instead.

Staff already working nights and weekends are "struggling" to keep up with the increased number of calls, especially during the weekends, it says.

Shine advocate team manager Debbs Murray says people don't realise there are "invisible walls" of entrapment for people who find themselves with a violent or manipulative partner.

"To an outsider, leaving is the answer, but leaving is the most vulnerable time," she said.

"Staying can feel safer; you've got eyes on him and you know what's going on. Leaving, you don't know where he is or what's going on."

Shine general manager Sally Ward says leaving a violent partner can be one of the most dangerous times for victims, but it can be done safely with help from specialist domestic violence services.

"We know women are proactive help seekers, but studies show they have sometimes experienced unsafe responses from agencies which makes it harder to trust another service to get it right this time," she said.

"Our advocates are there to address the risks abusive partners pose to victims and their children, and to help make their lives safer - whether they are staying or leaving. Advocates work with the victims to understand who and what matters to them whilst supporting their access to essential dignity, safety and wellbeing needs."

This can include a phone, food, clothes, safe housing, protection orders and connecting them to services like Work and Income.

Shine released a video on Tuesday to help show people the difficulty victims can have in leaving an abusive partner.

The video shows a woman out for a run who then receives texts from her partner telling her to "get home", that she's "so stupid" and "don't make me come and get you".

It ends with the woman outside her house looking worried and with the message, "Running away isn't always possible".

Gabriel Lunte from Chillbox Creative, who worked with Shine to produce the video, says his team learned that escape from a domestic abuse situation isn't often as simple as just running away.

"We wanted to impress the reality that even the strongest, most resilient of survivors are not always in a position to escape safely without help," he said.

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