The COVID-19 pandemic has instigated major change globally but perhaps the most pervasive transformation to everyday life has been the society-wide lockdowns, meaning more people are at home far more often than usual. Unfortunately, these stay-at-home measures have detrimentally impacted those in situations of family violence, with the perpetrator being home all day and the person experiencing family violence having their escape or any options to seek help severely diminished, if not extinguished entirely. This restriction of movement has already been shown to make violence in homes more frequent and more severe.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked increase in urgent Family Law cases as a direct result of the current climate, with the Courts reporting a 39% increase of cases in the Family Court of Australia and a 23% increase of cases in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia over a four week period in March and April 2020.
Separation or divorce mean big changes to family life, especially when you have children from the relationship. The way children react to separation will usually depend on a number of different factors, including the family relationship before separation, the age and personalities of the children and the degree of conflict between the parents.
If you fear violence or harassment from your spouse, partner or a work colleague, you should take steps to protect yourself by applying for an Apprehended Violence Order. It is a method of obtaining protection if you are fearful of future violence, including physical or sexual abuse, or threats to your safety, including harassment, intimidation or stalking.
Separating from a partner may be one of the most difficult times you experience in your life. It is a time rife with intense emotions and lots of change. There will be many practical problems that require your attention, including new living and financial arrangements. If you have children with your former partner, you would also be concerned about the stability of their lives.