What happens on a crisis visit?

November 15, 2016

During the 2015/16 financial year DVCS staff attended at 1,820 crisis visits around Canberra, this equates to almost five per day.  Many people have very valid questions and concerns when it comes to meeting with DVCS staff.  We hope these commonly asked questions and answers assist people making a decision about meeting with us.

Where do I meet you?

We meet with clients at a place that is convenient to the client and safe to the client and our staff.

On most occasions we meet with clients in their home, but only on the basis that it is safe to do so.  If we are meeting with a client immediately after an incident and the person using violence’s location is unknown, we will meet with the client at a different location.

Different locations could be a Police Station or at a local café or park.  We also support clients when they are giving statements to the Police.

If the person subjected to violence has been physically injured we are able to meet with them in hospital.  This is not uncommon.

If we are providing support at Court we might meet a client outside of the Court building and walk with the client to the Court building.

When can I meet with you?

At any time.  If the situation is urgent and/or you require emergency accommodation we will meet with you as soon as possible.  This might mean meeting with a client at 2am.

If you are safe and not in crisis we will organise a time and a place that is suitable to you.

Is your car branded and do you wear a uniform?

No.  We drive a variety of motor vehicles and they all look like regular cars you might see in someone’s driveway.  There is no branding on any of our cars.  There is no visible information to indicate the vehicle is a DVCS vehicle.  From time to time we transport clients to safe accommodation and do so in DVCS vehicles.  So, some of our vehicles contain baby/toddler seats to accommodate clients who have young children.  From time to time we might use a taxi service to assist in the transportation of a client, and their family if applicable.

We do not wear a uniform.  All workers have appropriate identification which can be produced on request.

What happens if the person using violence is there too?

It is not uncommon for the person using violence to be present on a crisis visit.  We will only attend at a crisis visit when the person using violence is present if the Police are also present.

While a lot of the time both parties just want to “tell their side of their story” we also use the opportunity to talk to both parties about alternate ways to manage their anger.  We encourage both parties to continue engagement with us and utilise our crisis line to assist in defusing any future situations.

What happens if children are there too?

Children are often present in the home and may have witnessed or been subjected to violence.  If children are present, and with the parents’ permission, we will also speak to children to check in with how they are feeling and coping.

Will you take my children away?

DVCS staff do not have any powers to remove children.  While we are not mandated to report a risk to children to Care and Protection, if we believe a notification is in the best interests of the child, we will make a report.

We purposefully declined being a mandated reporter to avoid the “tick a box” approach.  While studies have shown us exposure to violence, regardless of whether they are subjected to it, negatively effects a child, we assess every situation before reporting anything to Care and Protection.

We also have a more in-depth discussion with clients who have children surrounding our policy in this regard.

What happens if I need emergency accommodation?

We are able to provide clients with emergency accommodation at any time, day or night.  We have close relationships with a variety of refuges, supported accommodation and independent accommodation places that we can organise quickly and safely for clients.  This includes accommodation for children who are with their parent.

We have good relationships with accommodation providers that are able to take clients with pets.  In the event those places are full, we are able to assist in advocating safe boarding for your pet with the RSPCA or other organisations, although this is not always possible.

If you require crisis intervention or court advocacy, please contact us on 02 6280 0900, 24/7 or via email to crisis@dvcs.org.au.