Women’s Health West is continuing to deliver essential services to women and children who experience family violence during the COVID-19 health emergency. We remain open and will continue to provide our family violence services. As well as this, we will continue to follow up referrals received from Victoria Police following incidents of family violence.
We recognise that family violence can be exacerbated during times of crisis; even more so where social isolation is inevitable. We will continue to prioritise the safety of women and children experiencing family violence and support them to work towards a life free from violence.
How are we responding to COVID-19 as an organisation?
We also recognise that the health of our clients and our workforce is a priority given the likely escalating impact and extent of the virus over the coming months. As a result, we are changing the way we deliver some of our services – for instance to telephone or online platforms – to protect our staff, clients and community. There are some services that pose too great a risk to deliver – for instance face-to-face support to clients at very busy courthouses – but we will continue to support women by telephone.
For those clients who do require an in-person response we have adopted a temporary screening process to first identify any COVID-19-related risks. We recommend that any agencies referring clients to Women’s Health West do so via phone, rather than encourage clients to drop into our service.
We are also postponing the delivery of our health promotion programs, training and events, while using alternative methods of communication to check in with clients and program participants to prevent any risk of transmission of COVID-19 within the community. We will continue to plan, support and collaborate with other organisations in our key partnerships – Preventing Violence Together and Action for Equity – and are expecting to become very proficient in using Zoom, Microsoft Teams and the like over the coming months!
Where can you stay up to date?
We are following the advice of experts to ensure the accuracy of our own response – particularly the information and resources provided by the Chief Health Officer and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The one thing we do know about COVID-19 is that things will change, and we will need to change too, to ensure that victims-survivors of family violence have access to our services and support throughout the pandemic period.
So, we encourage you to stay connected via our website and our social media platforms, particularly Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Through these platforms, we’ll be able to provide you with updates on our services as well as resources that you might find useful during this time.
Family violence assistance
- Call us during business hours on 9689 9588
- If you need support outside business hours call safe steps on 1800 015 188
- If you need an interpreter, call the Telephone Interpreter Service (24 hours) on 131 450. They will connect you with the service you want.
If you are ever in immediate danger, call the police on 000.