When it comes to understanding domestic violence as it presents today, we need to consider not only the rising numbers but the increasing range of complex issues faced by victims, and the consequent impact on social and support services.

 Yvette Vignando, CEO of South West Sydney Legal Centre, made this very clear in her tip of the iceberg statement https://www.clcnsw.org.au/tip-iceberg-frontline-workers-say-police-data-fails-capture-increase-domestic-violence

Worth highlighting is her statement “For the last few years, the number of women referred to our Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCAS) have increased every year ….. However, the complexity of matters referred to us has been higher than usual, requiring more extensive time and support for our clients. Some WDVCAS programs have also reported an increase in the number of women considered to be at risk of serious harm.”

Evidencing this further is the fact that counselling services are also overwhelmed by the numbers of referrals as the number of victims of violence continue to rise.

But in our experience protection from violent acts doesn’t automatically ensure safety for the victim, the fear, anticipation and recovery all contribute to an ever present insidious presence that destroys mental health, trust, and relations in ways that are long lasting and complex. 

Even enduring the court processes when seeking justice and the ongoing repercussions of gaining a protective order can continue to create pressure on victims and children that deny them the ability to live peacefully.

Why should victims be victimised twice?

 This was the question and challenge Attenti made to the ANZ Mental Health Conference – Stop Domestic Violence that supported their efforts to create actions to reduce the stress of victims and children and enable them to start living again, and not just surviving.

Attenti support ANZMH’s initiatives and over this next year will continue to back their efforts and provide ‘actions’ to support their work.