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COVID-19 and the Surge in Family Violence

COVID-19 and the Surge in Family Violence

Many families were already struggling with financial and other pressures in our “normal” pre-pandemic world as it was.  These problems have since been exacerbated with people falling sick, losing their jobs, or suffering a dramatic decrease in their household income.

During this crisis we have all seen or read many heart-warming stories of heroism and the best that humanity has to offer, such as the unselfish and dedicated way in which our first responders have helped those in need, and how the medical community has treated those suffering from the worst of illnesses while shielding the rest of us from exposure.  We have observed other frontline workers, such as those stocking our supermarket shelves, continue to carry out their duties in service to our community whilst potentially exposing themselves and their families to harm for our collective benefit.

Unfortunately, we have also seen, read about or personally suffered at the hands of an ugly side of the pandemic – one that is not even its devastating medical and health effects.  The increased time that families spent together during the lockdown period placed additional strain on some relationships that were already fracturing.  With social isolation in place, there was no escape to the office, golf club, local café, or to visit extended family members.  This forced deficiencies in some relationships to come to the surface and have to be confronted.

Developments over the past few months have caused a deterioration in people’s psychological condition and, consequently, an increase in the level of family violence.  There’s never any justification for anyone to lay a hand in anger upon someone else, man or woman.  But given our physiological differences, it is obviously far more unacceptable for any man to assault any female or children in his life.

In general, the stats don’t play out well for men, a number of whom perpetrate family violence against their partners in one form or another – whether it be verbal, emotional, financial, let alone physical.  These partners are the mothers of your children.  They are all someone’s daughters.  This scourge is simply unacceptable in a modern society as advanced as ours and must be eradicated.

If you are the one harming your partner right now, you must stop immediately.  Take a good hard look in the mirror and all around you.  See the pain and suffering you are causing not only to your partner but also to your children and all those who are close enough to bear the brunt of the collateral damage flowing from your conduct including her parents and siblings, your own mother and father, and other family members.

Your conduct is also hurting mankind in general.  You’re not helping the next bloke who walks through the doors of the Family Law Courts seeking justice – because he has not erred like you.  He just loves his children and they love and miss him dearly.  You’ve hurt his prospects of achieving justice before he has even set foot in a courtroom.

No doubt you’re feeling tremendous guilt about your conduct, and you want to stop hurting those you love the most.  There is help available for you.  If your financial situation is difficult, there are various psychological and other services that are free of charge or are offered at a nominal cost.  There are courses you can undertake to achieve self-betterment and get your life back on track.

Ultimately, if you cannot resolve your personal differences with your partner, do the right thing and separate as amicably as possible.  This should then enable you to negotiate the reasonable terms of the split of your joint financial interests with your partner and, far more importantly, the shared parenting arrangements to be entered into between you for the kids, in fulfilment of your mutual responsibility to act in their best interests and welfare.

Life goes on post-separation.  It’s not the end of the world.  Two households are commonplace these days and there’s no shame in that.  The more amicably you can end the relationship, the greater cooperation you’re likely to receive in terms of your partner facilitating substantial time for the children to spend in your care.  The greater the hostilities, the worse your prospects of achieving an early resolution.

Most importantly, neither party should look to punish the children for their own faults and the deficiencies in their relationship.  They should always look to serve their children’s emotional, psychological, physical, and financial needs to the best of their conscience, and allow them to lead healthy lives.

If you are the party currently suffering from the effects of family violence, contact us and we will advise you about the steps you need to take to ensure yours and the children’s safety and wellbeing.  The Family Law Courts recently established a list specifically dedicated to deal with parenting related disputes which have arisen because of COVID-19.  These include issues of family violence which are a consequence of the quarantine and other restrictions imposed on families, and their economic and emotional ramifications.  If your application meets the criteria, the court will make urgent Interim Orders to address your circumstances within 72 hours of its filing.

If you are the one perpetrating the violence, call us and we will direct you to the services available to help you sort out your problems, and thereafter to be in a position to do the best by your children.

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