Revealed: Spike in family violence under level 4 lockdown

Nearly two-thirds of Women's Refuges have reported an increase in family violence since the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown began, Newshub Nation can exclusively reveal.

With safehouses already at capacity they're using motels and rentals instead. But the service is there for anyone who needs it.

Inside the sanctuary of a Women's Refuge safehouse, life under lockdown is a welcome escape. 

Family violence is rising. In a national crisis, the crisis at home doesn't stop. With no work, school or social occasions victims of abuse have nowhere to go.

"Every protective factor they had in their lives is gone now," Women's Refuge CEO Ang Jury told Newshub Nation. 

"They are basically left to their own resources to make it work. I think it's exceedingly dangerous. Really really dangerous."

Refuges are already at full capacity, so half are housing clients in motels instead. Government grants will help pay the bill, but only cover five women per refuge each month.

And just over a week into lockdown, the worst could still be yet to come.

"I'm sure it is," says Jury. 

In a statement, police said they haven't seen an increase but it may not reflect what is really going on. Anecdotally, they're hearing of more family violence. And it may now be harder for some to speak up.

Shine, a support organisation for victims, provides a helpline to escape family violence - but it's no longer easy to make that call.

"People experiencing domestic violence are going to have so much more difficulty in accessing services and finding a safe space and time to make a call to a helpline," Shine spokesperson Holly Carrington told Newshub Nation. 

But support is still available. And the safest choice is still to walk out the door. 

"If you are unsafe, leave. Leave. It is not worth the risk of staying," says Jury.

Staying home is not an option as abuse increases, with lockdown becoming a reason to leave.