Self-Isolation Means Many Women Will Be Trapped With Their Abuser

Echoing the concerns of women’s safety experts around Australia and the world, Dr Merrindahl Andrew, Program Manager at the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) calls for governments to respond urgently to COVID-19, including strengthened measures for women’s safety and resourcing of services.

Dr Andrew writes:

“From overseas reports and experience with other disasters, we expect abusers will use the COVID-19 pandemic as another opportunity to exert control – for example by limiting access to medical care or threatening to expose someone to the virus.

“Already, women with disabilities find that abusers threaten and withhold access to the equipment and services they need to function in a world that is often inaccessible… People already battling poverty, discrimination or insecure migration status will find their ability to seek safety further impeded by the COVID-19 crisis, especially where they already lack access to basic services and income.

“Even before this crisis increases demand, we know that every day many women reaching out for help from services aren’t able to get it because of government funding decisions. We cannot allow this government neglect to continue, when the consequences of leaving women and children without support are even more life-threatening.”

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