Domestic violence hotlines have already seen a significant increase in the number of women putting calls in this year – with almost triple the number of calls from previous years.
DV Connect, a 24-hour domestic violence hotline in Queensland reported receiving 2,000 calls in the four days following New Year’s Day, alone.
Chief Executive, Diane Mangan told ABC News she’s never seen that level of demand in her 40 years of working in the sector.
“I’m still trying to digest it myself. There’s an overwhelming demand for assistance,” she says.
No one can be certain whether more women are being abused or whether more victims are seeking help because of increased publicity and awareness about domestic violence – but with more women seeking help than ever before, phone services and refuges are stretched to the limits.
Chairwomen of the Peak Body Women’s Services Networks, Julie Oberin says the backlog can sometimes have devastating effects.
“We’re hearing that women are turned away on a daily basis from women’s refuges because they’re already full,” she told ABC News.
Julie says Coroners’ reports have indicated that one of the murdered women in New South Wales had tried to seek refuge a few times but wasn’t able to access a service.
Diane urges victims seeking help to persevere if they find phone lines filled.
“Persevere, be patient, we know the call is in the queue, we can see the light flashing,” she says.
“If someone isn’t able to stay in the queue, it’s not safe for them to do so, we’d certainly say call the police.”
If you’re experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, you can talk to someone today by calling DV Connect on 1800 811 811 or visit www.dvconnect.org