Natasha Stott Despoja has penned an open letter, signed by seventy-six prominent South Australians, urging us all to be good bystanders for those at risk of violence during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Dear Fellow South Australians,
The Covid-19 virus presents an unprecedented challenge for everyone, and comes at a time of already significant natural disaster in Australia.
We have all worked hard to flatten the curve and we can take pride in this.
However, while crises affect all of us, research shows family violence can increase during these times.
We are concerned about any person who may be at risk and we have particular concern for those women and children for whom home is not safe.
While we know that home isolation and stress can intensify the underlying conditions that lead to violence, such as attitudes of disrespect, they do not cause it and they don’t excuse it.
There is no excuse for domestic and family violence and sexual assault against anyone.
When families have to be in their homes, the ability for people experiencing abuse to reach out can be limited.
South Australians are still mourning the murder of Kim Murphy in Morphett Vale last month. Her calls for help were heard, but not answered.
Her tragic death is a reminder we all have a part to play in looking out for each other and keeping our community safe. This is especially true for those already experiencing high rates of violence or disadvantage.
We can all be good bystanders: as neighbours, colleagues and friends, we can check up on those we are worried about. It doesn’t have to be in person. We can reach out using technology, the post and phones. This is also a time to report concerns or suspicions, including altercations, and to ensure our community is safe.
You can call for help if you are at risk of violence or may be at risk of perpetrating violence. The 1800RESPECT service is available, with counsellors available 24/7 on phone and web chat. The Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491 mrs.org.au and Mensline mensline.org.au are also available for men who want help. You can also contact Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.
If it is an emergency, or if someone is in danger, please call 000 immediately.
Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that our communities are safe and that we treat each other with respect. We know we can rise to this challenge.
The Honourable Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia
The Honourable Peter Malinauskas MP, Leader of the Opposition SA
The Honourable Tammy Franks, MLC, Greens
The Honourable Connie Bonaros MLC, SA-BEST
The Honourable Julia Gillard AC, former Prime Minister of Australia.
Pictured: Rocker Dave Gleeson, Our Watch ambassador Khadija Gbla, former senator and domestic violence campaigner Natasha Stott Despoja, Kornar Winmil Yunti Aboriginal Corporation CEO Craig Rigney and Crows AFLW player Chelsea Randall have each signed the open letter to take a stand against domestic violence. Image by Matt Turner sourced via The Advertiser
About Our Watch
Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms and structures that lead to violence against women and children.
Find out more about our work to end violence against women in Australia.