Domestic and Family Violence – Slowing the Spread (Part 1)

As a child I used to look forward to every up and coming school holidays with great delight.  Few of us today, including many children, would be describing the Easter 2020 holidays in this way.  For some people in our community, the start of these school holidays would engender a huge amount of trepidation and dread.

I grew up in the early 70s.  Not a lot happened for kids in those days.  One of the biggest treats for my brother and I was watching our “mushroom farm in a box” grow.  At the start of some school holidays, my brother and I would accompany my mum to our local Nock and Kirby’s to buy the new “mushroom farm box”.  It was placed in a dark corner in our pantry and we were allowed to look at it very briefly each day.  How times change!

Technology enables us to stay connected whilst physically apart and adhering to necessary social distancing measures.  But for the internet, apps and clever people designing terrific E-platforms, I would not feel very different to one of those mushrooms in that box that was ballooning in my pantry when I was growing up.

Family and domestic violence is also to my mind a bit like a mushroom in a mushroom farm box.  Contain it in a dark place, where no one regularly visits, and it will flourish.

In the middle of reflecting on these times and what it means for families in our community, I am interrupted by someone sharing with me a picture of a number of beer glasses situated in different rooms in a house.  The picture is captioned “I’m going on a pub crawl this afternoon”.

The shared visual of a pub crawl in this time of physical distancing and “stay at home” rules is a salient warning to all.  It no doubt informs the government and has resulted in the recently announced new domestic violence initiatives.

As our connectedness enables coronavirus to thrive, social distancing and “stay at home” measures enable domestic and family violence to spread.

New South Wales police are working hard to enforce the social distancing and new social quarantine laws.  Police in other states are doing similarly.  They will inevitably be quickly required to work just as hard (and likely concurrently) protecting the safety of those vulnerable members in our community, particularly children, from family and domestic violence.

The courts remain “open for business”.  All of us in the justice system are doing everything we can to “flex up” and ensure safe access to justice for all.

The remedies for victims of family and domestic violence remain available.  Presently those remedies, like coronavirus itself, may be invisible to some but they are very real.

It is hardly “business as usual” at the moment but victims and perpetrators of family and domestic violence need to know that there is help out there.  It is only a phone call, a tap or a swipe away.

We will continue to share any helpful advice that we feel may assist you at this time.   Stay safe.  If you feel this may help another, please share this.

Lisa Wagner is an Accredited Family Law Specialist on Sydney’s North Shore specialising in complex property matters and children’s work.  If you have a Family Law enquiry, please contact us on (02) 9437 0010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au to discuss your matter in complete confidence. We have a team of experienced and caring professional family lawyers available to help you in this difficult time.

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.