May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month (DFVP Month). This is a month to raise awareness of the impact that domestic and family violence (DFV) has on the community and to promote the message of zero tolerance.
The devastating flood disaster in Northern NSW has now moved into the recovery phase, however experts say a new crisis is emerging. Natural disasters can unmask or intensify domestic and family violence (DFV) due to factors like trauma, family disruption, psychological distress, financial hardship, and housing displacement.
In the aftermath of the floods, there has been limited accommodation providers available to support women and children as a voluminous number of properties have become emergency houses for community members impacted by the floods.
Sarah Dybing, Service Director of Community Programs at Momentum Collective, said that there has been a rise of calls to their 24/7 support line and she is noticing an increase of DV clients facing challenges in finding safe and secure housing since the floods, and some clients were temporarily relocated to Brisbane.
“From experience we usually see increased calls to our 24/7 support line after a flood due to fear and uncertainty during natural disasters triggering domestic and other types of violence. The associated losses related to disasters – loss of employment, loss of homes and their livelihoods often cause financial strain and add pressure on families and relationships”.
“Currently there is no availability in Northern News South Wales at all, and people are asked to travel up to three and half hours to Coffs Harbour. It’s quite upsetting when the Gold Coast has availability and is a stone’s throw away. We would like to see more cross border cooperation in helping to find solutions”. – Ms Dybing
It is fundamental that DFV victims have support when leaving an abusive environment, and it is compassionate organisations like GIVIT who donate impactful donations to our clients with the essentials they need, such as food and fuel vouchers, used mobile phones, second-hand furniture and more.
GIVIT CEO, Sarah Tennant said they will continue to provide support to flood affected residents including the families fleeing or at risk of domestic violence for many years following this disaster.
“This flood event has exacerbated existing challenges for many in these regions. There are currently almost 20,000 requests for assistance on the GIVIT website for people experiencing domestic and family violence, and we know that a lot of these people have also been impacted by floods”, said Ms Tenant.
“We have a client (mum with three young children) who recently moved to a transitional property after experiencing homelessness due to the floods and domestic violence. Thanks to organisations like GIVIT, we provided her with over $1,000 worth of vouchers to purchase a new fridge and furniture like comfortable beds for her children. It’s priceless when we see the client overjoyed and feeling enormous relief as now she does not have to struggle to provide bare essentials to herself and her children and they can get back on their feet”, smiled Ms. Dybing.
Momentum Collective has launched a new 24/7 emergency line which provides after-hours crisis support and accommodation. If you or a person you know is experiencing domestic or family violence living in the Northern Rivers, please call Momentum Collective on 1800 387 867 or the state-wide NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 for counselling and referrals.
If you are looking to donate and support those who experiencing domestic and family violence or were affected by the 2022 floods, visit our donate page.