Instances of family violence perpetrators threatening to harm or kill children have increased by 76 per cent since 2014, according to new data from safe steps, Victoria’s 24/7 statewide family violence response service.
Almost one third (30.4 per cent) of the women who have contacted safe steps Family Violence Response Centre since July 2016 report that the perpetrator has harmed, or has threatened to harm or kill, their children. In the 2013-14 financial year, this figure was 17 per cent.
According to safe steps CEO, Annette Gillespie, this has resulted in greater numbers of children and their mothers seeking support in safe accommodation.
“Currently, an average of 40 children are being accommodated by safe steps every night across Victoria. 70 per cent of those children are aged eight or younger,” Ms Gillespie says.
“National data tells us that children are present in 61 per cent of family violence situations, and children who have witnessed family violence are more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, behavioral issues and learning difficulties.
“Children exposed to family violence are in real danger. More must be done to protect them from abusive environments, and help them to heal from trauma.”
safe steps Family Violence Response Centre CEO Annette Gillespie is available for comment.
If you or someone you care about is living with an abusive partner or family member, call safe steps Family Violence Response Centre 24/7 on 1800 015 188.
About safe steps Family Violence Response Centre:
safe steps is Victoria’s only state-wide, 24/7 first response service for women and children affected by abuse in the home. For more than 40 years, we have supported the highest risk women and children in our community by providing risk assessment and safety planning, emergency accommodation, information and advocacy training. Our role is to assist women and children anywhere at any time to have the support, resources and protection they need to live free from violence.