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)

The Victorian government has started to ease some of the restrictions they introduced for most of the state. However, there are a number of ‘hot spot’ areas in Melbourne that have returned to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions (as of 2 July 2020) where there is a concern about the number of COVID-19 cases rising and potential community transmission occurring.

The postcode areas that are in Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions are:

  • 3012 (Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray)
  • 3021 (Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans)
  • 3032 (Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore)
  • 3038 (Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens)
  • 3042 (Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie, Niddrie North)
  • 3046 (Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park)
  • 3047 (Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana)
  • 3055 (Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West)
  • 3060 (Fawkner)
  • 3064 (Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo)

If you live in these postcodes, there are only be four reasons to be out:

  • Shopping for food and supplies
  • Care and caregiving
  • Exercise
  • Study or work – if you can’t do it from home.

For all of us, the most important points to remember are:

  • we must continue to practice physical distancing (1.5 metres) when we are in public, in shops and businesses
  • we must continue to work from home if we have already been working from home
  • we must continue to practice good hygiene – washing hands and using hand sanitize
  • anyone experiencing any symptoms – no matter how mild – should get tested. If you live in a ‘hot spot’ area you should get tested even if you don’t have any symptoms. It’s free for everyone (regardless of visa status). Find out more about getting tested here

People who do not follow the rules and restrictions in place can be fined by the police. It is important you understand the rules and restrictions in place for where you live, so you can make safe decisions for yourself and your children.

Victoria State Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has more information on their website to help you learn and understand the rules. Click here to visit the DHHS website. 

A list of some important FAQ’s for women and families is included below:

We still have to stand 1.5 meters away from people when we are in public – at the supermarket, shops, workplace, and also if you are at an outdoor gathering. For example, if you’re having a picnic with friends outside, you need to keep 1.5 meters between you. This does not include your children or household.

If you are in a family violence refuge or temporary accommodation, such as a hotel or motel, arranged for you by a family violence support service, you can remain there.

You should think of this accommodation as your normal place of residence and stay at home, unless you have somewhere safe to relocate to.

Victoria is conducting a testing blitz – which means they want to test a high number of people. We are testing more people at the moment than anywhere else in Australia.

Although some people are at higher risk – for example returned travellers, health care and aged care workers – anyone and everyone can get tested for COVID-19 now. You can contact your local doctor to ask where would be the best place for you to get tested. There are many sites conducting testing including medical centres, and there are drive-through testing sites at five shopping centres. Click here for more information and exact locations.

Testing for COVID-19 is free for everyone – regardless of visa status.

The government has released a new phone app called COVIDSafe. It is your choice if you would like to download the app.

If you do download the app, the app must be turned on when you go out for it to work.

If you have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19, DHHS will then know to notify you. So it helps DHHS track who people with COVID-19 have been in close contact with.

We must all continue to try and stay home as much as we can. This is because the less people interact with each other, the less likely it is that COVID-19 could spread.

If we break these rules, we can receive on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses.

You can call your local community legal centre or Victoria Legal Aid and ask for free legal advice.

Your case manager at inTouch can help you to find the correct phone number and contact details for the legal centre.

Click to find more information about police and fines during COVID-19 from Victoria Legal Aid, Northern Community Legal Centre, and the Police Accountability Project.

If you suspect you may have 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

All information in the video is accurate as of 11 May 2020. 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

All information in the video is accurate as of 11 May 2020. 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.

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.