Fleeing violent or abusive relationships during lockdown is 'reasonable excuse' to leave
Anyone who lives in, works in, or studies in the Hawkesbury must follow the stay-at-home rules for 14 days until Friday July 9 – unless they have a reasonable excuse to be out and about – and domestic violence victims have been reminded by police they do have a reasonable excuse to flee and they will be supported.
Domestic violence reports do spike during lockdown periods when families or couples are essentially stuck at home for most of the day and night.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said this afternoon that police were committed to protecting victims and would increase efforts to combat violence in the home following the government’s latest stay-at-home order.
“Fleeing a violent or an abusive relationship, or seeking domestic and family violence-related services, is a reasonable excuse to leave your home,” Mr Elliott said.
“While officers will continue to protect the community by ensuring the public complies with public health orders, domestic violence victims will also be a paramount concern, with police conducting thousands of Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) compliance checks to keep victims safe.”
Attorney General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Mark Speakman said the State’s dedicated frontline services would remain at the ready to support victim-survivors if they’re escaping abuse.
“We want to be abundantly clear that stay-at-home COVID-19 orders do not apply if you’re fleeing violence and abuse in your household,” Mr Speakman said.
“Victim-survivors and their children can be confident that domestic violence support services and the police are still only a phone call away during lockdown, so if you need help please contact them when it’s safe to do so.”
Assistant Commissioner Leanne McCusker APM, Corporate Sponsor Domestic and Family Violence said police and frontline services are ready to provide support to anyone fleeing domestic and family violence during the latest stay-at-home orders.
“Domestic and family violence is a crime, and across the state, our officers continue to target high-risk and repeat offenders under the Suspect Target Management Plan and High Risk Offender Team to ensure they are complying with the conditions of their Apprehended Domestic Violence order,” said Assistant Commissioner McCusker.
“We have not changed the way we police DV offences. We are committed to helping victims of domestic violence and police will not hesitate in bringing offenders to justice.”
Since June 2019, the NSWPF has significantly increased proactive measures to detect and prevent DV offending, including a 79% increase in the number of ADVO compliance checks undertaken by police.
Last year also saw NSW Police begin over 36,600 charge files for domestic violence offences and issue more than 40,000 applications for ADVOs.
Other lawful reasons to leave your place of residence include to:
• provide care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or to provide emergency assistance;
• access social services, employment services, services provided to victims (including as victims of crime), domestic violence services, and mental health services;
• move to a new place of residence, or between your different places of residence;
• undertake legal obligations;
• avoid injury or illness or to escape the risk of harm.
Anyone experiencing domestic or family violence should report it to police or use the other support services that are available, including:
• 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) - a confidential information, counselling and support service;
• NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63) - a state-wide telephone crisis counselling and referral service for women;
• Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491) - provide telephone counselling, information and referrals for men;
• Link2Home (1800 152 152) - can help refer women experiencing domestic violence to crisis accommodation; and
• Lifeline (13 11 14) - a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Anyone with information about domestic and family violence incidents is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
Police remind the public, information is treated in strict confidence. And remember you should not report information about crimes via NSW Police social media pages.