inTouch was thrilled to hold our first ever online community of practice meetings in early May. It was great to come ‘together’ and share insights on the experiences of inTouch clients during COVID-19, and more importantly share how we have all adapted our services to ensure women’s safety during this time. One thing was clear, and that was that we are all incredibly adaptive in our service delivery, despite facing numerous challenges.

Some of the themes that came through the meetings included:

  • new ways of connecting and delivering services has emerged during the pandemic and with positive feedback from clients will transition into future service models
  • the challenges of supporting women remotely to navigate services such as Centrelink and their application processes. Normally, a support worker would accompany clients but that is no longer possible, and for clients with limited English language skills and technology literacy, submitting forms for additional support is challenging and delaying them receiving support
  • limited access to services such as housing, especially for those on temporary visas
  • an increasing reliance on adolescent children as interpreters for those women with limited English. This has resulted in shifts in family power dynamics and in some cases, a trend of young people using family violence
  • consideration of the ethics and safety of telehealth/video consultations support. How does greater access to what is happening in the home impact the safety of clients and workers?
  • difficulty accessing migrant and refugee communities during the pandemic. Technology and social media has been useful in reaching some communities and ensuring they are aware of the services available during this time but there are still many gaps
  • a clear need for service providers to work collaboratively, share information and insights now more than ever.

A big thank you to all those who participated in the meetings. We hope to hold another community of practice soon, with a focus on women on temporary visas experiencing family violence. Keep an eye out on our upcoming training and events for details.

Further information and useful resources you can refer to are: