To assist women women from migrant and refugee communities who are experiencing family violence during COVID-19 we have created this web-page to help you find;

inTouch will continue to update this page as we learn about more services so please check back here regularly.

Current COVID-19 restrictions in plain English (Victoria)

From 11:59pm Tuesday 27 July

The Victorian Government has lifted restrictions across Victoria, but some rules still remain in place.

To find additional resources in your language, please visit the Government’s Coronavirus website.

UPDATE: Victorian Exposure Sites

The Victorian Government has developed some different levels of response when individual cases of COVID are found in the community. You may have seen lists of places (exposure sites) that COVID-positive people have visited- if you’ve been in the same places as a COVID-positive person, you might need to get tested.

To make this a bit easier, the Government has developed three tiers-

Tier 1: You must isolate for 14 days and get tested as soon as possible. You must isolate for the full 14 days even if you get a negative result.
Tier 2: You must get tested and isolate until you get a negative result
Tier 3: Watch for symptoms and get tested if you get sick

You can find out more about exposure sites, if there are any near you and what you need to do if there are at the Coronavirus Website.

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The rules below come into effect in Melbourne from 11.59pm Tuesday 27 July.

You must still wear a mask when you leave the house- in all indoor and outdoor settings. You can remove it to eat or drink.

Stay at home orders have now been lifted. You can now travel without limits through the state.

Can I visit my friends and family in their homes? Or can they visit me at home?

  • No. If you live alone or are a single parent, you can form a single social bubble with one other person. You can only choose one person, not a whole household.
  • This other person can visit your home. You can visit their home when they are alone at home too. Having visitors inside is a big source of infection, so the Government is not allowing this.

Can I see family or friends outdoors?

  • Yes- you can meet up to ten people outside, or out of the home.

Most businesses are open again with some rules- 

  • Retail and shops (Check-in required. A venue smaller than 100sqm can have up to 25
    people per venue before density quotient applies.)
  • Childcare and kindergarten
  • Restaurants, cafes and bars (Open for seated service only with a limit of 100 per venue. Group limit of 10. Density
    quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. A venue smaller than 100sqm can have up to 25 people per venue before the density quotient
    applies. Dancefloors closed, and check in required.)
  • Hairdressing, beauty and personal care (Open. Can remove mask for services. Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. QR code
    check-ins are required. Venues can have up to 25 patrons before the density quotient applies.)
  • Schools
  • Higher education and training
  • Places of worship
  • Gyms, indoor and outdoor sports facilities and swimming pools
  • Community facilities including libraries
  • Entertainment and leisure

Facilities like gyms, pools, amusement parks and nightclubs are allowed 100 people inside and 300 outside, with groups limited to ten people, provided that the venue has room for one person per square metre.

We are still expected to sign in where possible using QR codes. Find out more about this here

What are the limits to religious services, weddings and funerals?

Religious gatherings can have 100 people indoors and up to 300 outdoors. Indoor functions will depend on the size of the building- people have to be able to social distance effectively, so gatherings must allow for only one person every four square meters. Everyone will have to check in.

Funerals will be able to go ahead with 50 guests- this number does not include children under 12.

Weddings are permitted with up to 50 guests, including the celebrant and couple. No dancefloors.

What about work?

If you can work from home, you must work from home. Up to 25% of your office can return, or up to ten people if your workplace has 40 people or less- but it depends how big the building is (1 person allowed per four square meters).

You must continue to wear a mask inside unless you have an exemption or are eating or drinking.

What about schools and childcare?

  • All schools are open. Social distancing must be maintained where possible, and everyone over 12 must wear masks.
  • Universities and TAFEs students should study from home if they can.
  • Childcare, family day care, early learning centres and kinders are open.

What about parenting arrangements?

Shared parenting arrangements can continue for children.

Who can get a vaccine? How do I get one?

Currently, anyone over the age of 40 can get a free vaccine, including migrant and refugee people. You don’t need a Medicare card, but you do need to bring photo identification.

It’s best to make an appointment by calling the COVID Hotline. More info here or call 1800 675 398.

Need an interpreter? You can call TIS on 131 450 and ask to be put through to the COVID Hotline. 

Should I get tested every time I’m sick? Or my children are sick?

Anyone who has cold or flu symptoms should be tested. This includes fever, chills/sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss of sense of smell or taste.
Whenever you and your children get any type of cold or flu symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible. Testing is free for everyone.

Where can I get tested?

There are many drive-through and walk-in testing sites for COVID-19 across Victoria. This includes some shopping centre car parks, hospitals, and community halls. You can see the full list here.
Some GP clinics are also doing COVID-19 tests. You can call your doctor to make an appointment. Some GP’s do however charge a fee for this service.

What do I do after I have been tested?

Follow the instructions you are given when you’re having your COVID-19 test. If you are sick and have any symptoms, you must stay home. If you have been a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must stay home until you receive your results. Do not go to work or go out shopping, stay at home.

How long does it take to get the results?

After someone has a COVID-19 test, if they have a negative result (meaning you do not have the virus), then they will receive a text message or a phone call from their doctor to tell them it is negative.
If the test is positive to COVID-19 and you have the virus, then the person will receive a call from the relevant health authorities at DHHS. DHHS will then try to support the person and conduct contact tracing to work out how or who they got it from and if they have potentially spread it to anyone else.
Results generally take 24-72 hours to come through.

I have been told I have COVID-19. What do I do?

If you have COVID-19, you will be contacted by the relevant health authorities at DHHS. There will be doctors and nurses who will also be checking on you and giving you health advice. If you don’t understand the information they are giving you, you should always ask for an interpreter. If you need an interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450.
People who have COVID-19 are not allowed to leave their home until they are told that they can by DHHS UNLESS there is an emergency. If you do have to leave your home for an emergency, you must wear a mask.
If you need extra support and help, make sure you tell the doctors and nurses that contact you.

I have been told I’m a close contact of someone with COVID-19, what do I do?

If you have been told you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, it means you were in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This means you must isolate yourself for 14 days and not leave the house. You will also be asked to get tested twice. You will need to isolate for the 14 days even if you get a negative test result.
Speak to your doctor and the health officials for more information and guidance. It is critical that if you don’t understand something that they are saying, you should ask for an interpreter.

Financial support

There are a number of support payments the government has announced to help people who need to isolate and do not have sick/personal leave available from their employer.
If you are unwell and need to be tested, you can apply for the $450 one-off payment to stay home until you get your test results. This is called the Coronavirus Test Isolation Payment.
If you need to isolate because you have COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and you don’t have sick/personal leave available from your employer, you may be eligible for either the Federal Government’s $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or the Victorian Government’s $1500 Coronavirus Worker Support Payment.
For more information on the Victorian Government payments, go to the Government’s Coronavirus Website.
For information on the Federal Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, go here.
Please note, they have different eligibility requirements. For example, you cannot receive both the Federal and Victorian Government’s $1500 payments.

Fines

If we break the rules and don’t follow the restrictions in place, we can receive on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses.
If you have been told to isolate (because you have COVID-19 or because you are a close contact) and you don’t do so, you can receive an on-the-spot fine of $4957. You can also receive this fine more than once if you break the rules.
If you have received a fine and don’t understand why or can’t pay it, you can access support by contacting Moonee Valley Legal Service or Fitzroy Legal Service. These community legal centres provide free legal advice.

For more information about police and fines during COVID-19, see:
Victoria Legal Aid website
Northern Community Legal Centre website
Police Accountability Project website 
For translated information on COVID-19 visit the COVID Government website here.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 (Coronavirus) you can call the dedicated hotline which is open 24 hours, 7 days- 1800 675 398

If you need help understanding English and need an interpreter, please call 131 450 (TIS National), then request the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. There is no cost to use an interpreter.

Key resources for women experiencing family violence during COVID-19

During COVID-19 you may be at higher risk of family violence as social distancing and the rules put in place by the Government mean you are spending more time inside with people who use violence. People who use family violence may also use COVID-19 as a way to control or abuse you in different ways. For example they could;

  • Stop or make it hard for you to get things you need such as food, medicine, hand sanitizer or cleaning products.
  • Tell you things that aren’t true about COVID-19 to control or frighten you.
  • Use COVID-19 as an excuse to control your family’s finances (money).
  • Put you at risk by not following social distancing laws from the Victorian Government.
  • Threaten to infect you with COVID-19 or to invite people with COVID-19 to visit your home.
  • Threaten or stop you and your children from going to the doctor or hide your Medicare card.
  • Say things that aren’t true about the way you look after your children, such as blaming you if children ‘misbehave’ or are upset.
  • Isolate you or your children in the home by restricting your movement in the house, forcing you or the children to stay in specific spaces or rooms in the house, or disabling your mobility devices.
  • Keep track of your personal communication devices such as mobile phone, email, online messaging.
  • Use COVID-19 to excuse, blame or justify their abusive and violent behavior towards you and the children.
  • An ex-partner may use COVID-19 to try and enter or live in your home. They may try to make you let them stay to ‘help’ you with the children.
  • Breach a family violence intervention order.
  • Force you to travel on public transport, making you feel unsafe.
  • Tell you family violence organisations are closed or that police won’t help you during COVID-19. This is not true.

This is family violence. Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) have put together some useful advice on how to recognise family violence during COVID-19 and help keep you and your children safe during this time. Click here to read this information.

Family violence is never ok. Organisations are here to help you stay safe. If you or someone you know needs support, you can get help from inTouch or reach out to one of these 24-hour services;

Links to important information about staying safe from family violence during COVID-19 are listed below;

Changes to the legal system

To help you understand changes to Victoria’s legal system during COVID-19 we have created these short videos.

Changes to legal service provision during COVID-19

NOTE: Information is changing rapidly in response to the pandemic and advice from your relevant government and health officials should be referred to for the most up-to-date information.

Parenting Orders During COVID-19

NOTE- Information is changing rapidly in response to the pandemic and advice from your relevant government and health officials should be referred to for the most up-to-date information.

Translated information on COVID-19

Information is being translated in to a range of languages by the Australian Government and other organisations to help you understand COVID-19 symptoms and, how to protect yourself, and travel restrictions. Links to translated information are listed below to help you find important information in your language.

Health Translations and Victoria State Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has information about COVID-19 which is translated into various languages. You can access these under each corresponding language listed below, otherwise you can also see the full list of languages available on the Health Translations website here or the DHHS website here.

For all Victorians, anyone 12 years of age and older, must wear a face mask over their nose and mouth when leaving home for one of the four reasons. See videos on how to make a cloth face mask at home, and how to safely wear face coverings, available in multiple languages. There is also information on wearing a face covering in different languages, see posters here and hear audio recordings here.

inTouch will continue to add more links each week so please check back here often.

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inTouch will continue to update this page as more resources become available but we need your help. If you have a resource you would like to share, please email admin@intouch.org.au.