Embolden Co-Chairs Susie Smith and Belinda Halliday, and Policy & Communications Manager Jennifer Kingwell, have signed an open letter published in The Advertiser on the importance of positive bystander action to call out domestic and family violence in our communities, particularly in the context of COVID-19’s impact on families.
Penned by Natasha Stott-Despoja, founding chair of Our Watch, with 76 prominent South Australian signatories including Premier Steven Marshall and Our Watch ambassador and anti-domestic violence advocate Khadija Gbla, the letter says:
The COVID-19 virus presents an unprecedented challenge for everyone, and comes at a time of already significant natural disaster in Australia. We have all worked hard to flatten the curve and we can take pride in this. However, while crises affect all of us, research shows family violence can increase during these times.
We are concerned about any person who may be at risk and we have particular concern for those women and children for whom home is not safe. While we know that home isolation and stress can intensify the underlying conditions that lead to violence, such as attitudes of disrespect, they do not cause it and they don’t excuse it. There is no excuse for domestic and family violence and sexual assault against anyone.