Tag: family violence

Coronavirus exacerbates issues for women on temporary visas: Monash study

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 24 September: Recently the SBS Punjabi did a story about Indian female international students here entangled in the pandemic being harassed by men from the Indian community for dates and sex after their social media posts pleading for help. But this is not the only way women on temporary visas face violence, controlling behaviors, emotional abuse, and denial of food and medication during the early stages of the pandemic.

A new study documents this violence in Victora has been released. The study- Family Violence and Temporary Visa Holders during COVID-19 found 92 percent of perpetrators had recently threatened to harm victim-survivors and/or their children, 87 percent emotionally abused women and more than 60 percent threatened to have women deported.

The report draws on the analysis of 100 case files of women who experienced domestic and family violence during the first lockdown phase, from the declaration of a State of Emergency across Victoria on March 16 to May 31, 2020.

All women sought assistance from inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence (inTouch), who partnered with Monash for the research.

The report found the majority of perpetrators were Australian citizens or permanent residents, with the women’s uncertain migration status used as leverage for control.

“Temporariness is a significant form of leverage for perpetrators,” said report lead author Associate Professor Marie Segrave. “This fear and uncertainty regarding the threat of being deported impacts across a whole range of areas – financial, familial, and beyond. While it is not accurate that visa sponsors can have someone deported, these perpetrators often assert themselves as having more power and impact.”

More than three-quarters of women in the report feared harm or death at the hands of their perpetrator, 31 percent specifically feared deportation and/or being forced to leave the country without their Australia-born children.

Perpetrators used their power and control for sexual violence, to extort money from victim-survivors and even starve pregnant partners.

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent policy response have significantly heightened the precariousness of women’s safety and livelihoods.

Women reported multiple pandemic-related impacts, including unemployment and increased economic dependence on perpetrators, housing insecurity, fear of infection, close contacts testing positive, together with delays in IVO hearings, closures of legal services, and restrictions limiting the ability for interpreter assistance.

Of those who were employed, 70 percent lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown.

“It is now well-documented that temporary visa holders who experience family violence in Australia have limited access to support because of their migration status, and that the visa system can contribute to and compound women’s insecurity,” report co-author Dr Naomi Pfitzner said.

“The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities, with temporary visa holders excluded from financial support packages including JobSeeker and JobKeeper, and many experiencing financial vulnerability due to their likelihood of employment in low paid or casual work in sectors shaped by discretionary spending.”

CEO of inTouch, Michal Morris, said while the impact of COVID-19 was clear, the issues recorded in their clients’ case files were not new.

“Rather, COVID-19 has largely intensified the impact on temporary visa holders, and their exclusion from accessing the safety and support mechanisms all individuals, regardless of visa status, deserve when they experience family violence,” she said.

“In the context of COVID-19, limited job opportunities, community organizations that are under even more pressure, more time being stuck at home with perpetrators, and a lack of ongoing financial support, are all significant impacts creating stressors to these women.”

Women who don’t hold a temporary partner visa and / or relevant working visas are ineligible to access family violence provisions in order to apply for permanent residency.

They are also generally ineligible for housing and community services support and the group has been hit hard by their exclusion from financial support during the lockdown and restrictions, and the loss of employment.

Researchers suggested a number of recommendations to better support women on temporary visas experiencing domestic and family violence in Australia, largely focused on Commonwealth support.

Recommendations include a review and expansion of family violence provisions, a broadening of the definition of family violence, and the establishment of a single subclass bridging visa for all temporary visa holders to access in the event that they experience domestic and family violence.

Targeted messaging shared on diverse media and communication channels and platforms for temporary visa holders on their rights, as well as the creation of pathways to permanent residency, were also recommended, as well as more adequate emergency accommodation, and better financial support.

The report is part of a wider project led by Dr. Naomi Pfitzner, Associate Professor Kate Ftiz-Gibbon, and Professor Jacqui True and is funded by Monash University as part of the Melbourne Experiment.

Source- medinet, 24 Settember 2020.

New Victoria Police videos in different languages on family violence help

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 5 JUNE 2020: Victoria Police has today launched videos in additional multiple languages to encourage people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to seek help if they are experiencing family violence.

Following the successful launch of the videos in English and 12 other languages last month, the videos are now available in an additional 13 languages: Hindi, Pashto, Khmer, Korean, Japanese, Serbian, Sinhalese, Spanish, Tamil, Thai, Malay, Somali, Russian and Polish.

The videos are now available in a total of 26 languages, which also includes English and 12 other languages: Arabic, Burmese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dari, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Punjabi, Macedonian, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Assistant Commissioner of Family Violence Command Dean McWhirter acknowledged the current challenging times for the community and highlighted the different ways victims could seek support.

“People may be particularly vulnerable during these times as the community stays at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but home might not always be the safest place to be,” AC McWhirter said.

“We are releasing these videos to remind everyone in our community that Victoria Police continue to help people if they feel unsafe.

“If you or a member of your family does not feel safe, there are people you can talk to and support services available to help you.

“Everyone in our community should have information about the services available to them, especially in these particularly stressful times.

“Family violence is an underreported crime, and people from culturally diverse backgrounds may face additional barriers in reporting this crime to police.

“Language barriers can mean people may not have access to information or feel too intimidated to get the help they might need.
“These videos help raise awareness that family violence is a crime, help victims understand who they can speak to for support, and let victims know that they are not alone.

“If you are concerned that a family member or friend is experiencing family violence, take the time to check in on them in any way that is safe for you, and safe for them.”

In an emergency, always call Triple Zero (000). If English is not your first language, they will connect you to an interpreter.

The videos can be accessed from the Victoria Police YouTube page.

For more information about family violence in different languages, visit the Victoria Police website.

Source- Victoria Police Media Release, 5 June, 2020.

VIDEO: ‘Stay at Home’ family violence – there is no excuse

Source: Victoria Police media Hub, 13 May 2020.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 13 May 2020: Victoria Police has launched a suite of videos in multiple languages to encourage people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to seek help if they are experiencing family violence. The videos are available in English and 12 other languages: Arabic, Burmese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dari, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Punjabi, Macedonian, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

These videos will soon also be available in an additional 13 languages: Hindi, Pashto, Khmer, Korean, Japenese, Serbian, Sinhalese, Spanish Tamil, Thai, Malay, Somali, Russian and Polish.

Assistant Commissioner of Family Violence Command Dean McWhirter acknowledged the current challenging times for the community and highlighted the different ways victims could seek support.

People may be particularly vulnerable during these times as the community stays at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but home might not always be the safest place to be,” AC McWhirter said.

“We are releasing these videos to remind everyone in our community that Victoria Police continues to help people if they feel unsafe.

“If you or a member of your family does not feel safe, there are people you can talk to and support services available to help you.

“Everyone in our community should have information about the services available to them, especially in these particularly stressful times.

“Family violence is an underreported crime, and people from culturally diverse backgrounds may face additional barriers in reporting this crime to police.

“Language barriers can mean people may not have access to information or feel too intimidated to get the help they might need.

“These videos help raise awareness that family violence is a crime, help victims understand who they can speak to for support, and let victims know that they are not alone.

“If you are concerned that a family member or friend is experiencing family violence, take the time to check in on them in any way that is safe for you, and safe for them.”

safe steps are available 24 hours a day to provide support over the phone or via email. They can also connect you with someone who speaks in your preferred language.

InTouch is also available to provide support services to women from multicultural backgrounds, including migrant and refugee women living in Victoria, who are experiencing or have experienced family violence.

If you or someone you know is feeling unsafe, please call the police. If you can’t get to a phone, you can ask somebody to do it for you.

In an emergency, always call Triple Zero (000). If English is not your first language, they will connect you to an interpreter.
Victoria Police will act to protect anyone harmed by family violence.

Victoria Police detect 790 family violence offences during pandemic

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 8 May 2020: Victoria Police has detected hundreds of family violence offences as it continues its efforts in protecting victims during the coronavirus pandemic.

A state-wide family violence operation dedicated to preventing and reducing family violence involves specialist detectives from the Family Violence Investigation Units checking in regularly with victims and monitoring high-risk perpetrators.

Operation Ribbon, which commenced on 13 April 2020, was set up to prevent the anticipated increase of family violence incidents as people stay at home with limited opportunities to access support.

Since the operation commenced, police have conducted 2433 checks, including 748 compliance checks on high-risk perpetrators, and spoken to 1693 affected family members across the state.

During these visits, 780 family violence offences were detected including breaches of intervention order and assault.

This has resulted in 100 people being charged and remanded for family violence-related and other criminal offenses. A further 98 people were also arrested to appear in court.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the dedicated operation was crucial in ensuring victims were safe during a particularly stressful time.

“While everyone is working together to tackle this global health pandemic, many in our community are experiencing an especially tough time,” CCP Ashton said.

“These results are a tragic reminder that while the home is supposed to be the safest place to be, we know for some, it is the most dangerous with people experiencing abuse at the hands of their loved ones.

“This operation is a stern reminder to perpetrators that we are watching and making sure they don’t cause harm.

“You can leave your home if that means you are escaping harm. Police will help you to do this.”

Operation Ribbon will continue during the coronavirus pandemic and into the future.

Law Council condemns Senator Malcolm Roberts of One Nation for saying the family courts are contributing to family violence

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MELBOURNE, 25 Sept, Medianet: The Law Council has condemned as dangerous suggestions by Senator Malcolm Roberts of One Nation that the family courts are contributing to family violence and called for family violence awareness training for all members of parliament.

“It is inappropriate to be blaming victims, the courts or judges for any person lashing out and hurting another person,” Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC, said today.

“Politicians must be careful not to use words that may incite those currently engaged in the system or dissatisfied with a court outcome to engage in violence.”

Mr Moses labelled as “irresponsible and plain stupid” comments by made One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts blaming the family law system for violence by men.

“These comments could incite violence against partners, children or judges of those courts, or provide excuses for some men to blame anyone else but themselves for hurting a partner or child. The comments of Senator Roberts will undermine, not assist, concerns being raised by some members of the community for law reform as to how custody matters can be dealt with in a less adversarial manner.”

“The Joint Select Committee Inquiry announced this week provides a critical opportunity for Parliament to examine holistic options to reform the system, including recent recommendations by the Australian Law Reform Commission. The Law Council has offered its support to the Inquiry but it needs to be free from bias and pre-determined outcomes.”

“But let me be clear – the Inquiry will have no hope of achieving any meaningful reform and will quickly lose support if it is overshadowed by these disgraceful comments or misguided by myths. Reform has to be based on facts not slogans.”

“This Inquiry must be about finding long-term solutions to a crippled family law system. This will assist vulnerable children, mothers, fathers, families and victims of family violence. Not apportioning blame or seeking to excuse the inexcusable.

“Cases of family violence are serious matters to be heard and determined by the courts and prosecuted by the police, not Parliament. If parties are unhappy with outcomes, these can decisions reviewed.

“I acknowledge Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Attorney-General Porter have said earlier comments reported by Senator Hanson about the raising of domestic violence issues in family cases were wrong. The reported comments by the Senator were plainly wrong.”

“However, Prime Minister Morrison, Attorney-General Porter and Committee Chair Andrews now need to condemn these latest remarks by Senator Roberts in the strongest possible terms and ensure the Inquiry is conducted in a manner that is safe and respectful. Otherwise, the situation will quickly deteriorate and this Inquiry will harm not help children, mothers and fathers” Mr Moses said.

“The Law Council strongly recommends all parliamentarians including those who participate in this Inquiry be provided with family violence awareness training at the outset to help them undertake their important roles in the Inquiry but also considering any recommendations from the Inquiry.

“This training is important to assist them to better understand these issues, engage appropriately with stakeholders, and reach meaningful policy solutions.”

“There is also an urgent need for additional funding for legal assistance and family violence services to help those most vulnerable people in our community in their time of need.”