The members of the CWRG, and refuges throughout Australia, continue to provide specialist crisis services and support to women and children escaping domestic violence. At this challenging time, we believe women and children are at more risk, due to social distancing, economic instability and limited access to many community services.
Operationally, refuges have reviewed and updated contingency plans to ensure they are robust and effectively respond to COVID-19. Emergency contact lists have also been reviewed and updated. Refuge management and staff are working to safeguard the health of women, children and staff through closures of common areas, stringent cleaning schedules, and check-ins and case management via telephone. Many staff are working from home to ensure those working in refuge maintain appropriate social distancing. Resources for home-schooling have been provided to women and children living in refuge and women without income are having food hampers delivered by staff. Shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser and toilet paper are ongoing issues that many refuges are working to overcome. Refuges continue to work with partners, including DVConnect, to keep women and children safe.