How can women keep themselves safe? Why should we even be having this discussion? Instead, shouldn’t we be asking, why can’t men stop assaulting women?
We totally agree. Men need to stop assaulting women. They need to stop assaulting women in the streets, in nightclubs, online, in the workplace and in their home. Just stop. Everywhere.
According to the Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story (2019) report prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 16 and one in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 16.
Sadly, one in two women have been sexually harassed since the age of 15 and one in six women have been physically or sexually abused before the age of 15.
These statistics are pretty shocking. And they tell us this is happening in your network. To people you know and mostly likely at the hands of people you also know. Those statements might be uncomfortable to sit with, but sadly, it is our reality.
As long as violence remains in relationships, the team at DVCS will continue to support those impacted by domestic, family and intimate partner violence.
However, the team at DVCS is keen to share some tips about ways to enhance your safety, “Here at DVCS we know safety means different things to different people. We work with clients to help them identify things in their life that can increase their own sense of safety, in addition to their actual safety” said DVCS interim General Manager, Glenda Stevens.
Being safe in the context of domestic and family violence means different things for each person. It can mean being physically safe, being emotionally and psychologically safe or safe in their community and employment.
We know that what one person considers “safe” could be completely different to what another person considers “safe”. And that’s ok, we all have different needs and our experiences are unique to us.
We also know that safety planning is different for each person too. There is not a tick-a-box template our staff hand out.
DVCS staff are trained to help identify risk and ways to promote safety for their clients. It’s for this very reason they ask a lot of questions. “When we are assessing a client’s risk factors we need to know things like does the person using violence have access to weapons, do they use illicit drugs, have they worked in law enforcement or information technology or do they have keys or access to homes or cars. These are just some of the questions we ask or risk factors we are listening for” said Ms Stevens.
Here are some basic tips you might find helpful:
- Keep windows and doors locked. You can use deadlocks on both, or a cheaper option is to place dowel in window shafts;
- Install sensor lights around your house;
- Keep knives and scissors packed away in a drawer instead of in knife blocks;
- Reverse your car into garages and keep your car full of fuel;
- Know where your house and car keys are and try to keep them in the same room with you;
- Avoid wearing scarves or long necklaces, they can be a safety hazard;
- Keep your mobile phone charged and important numbers saved;
- Ensure your devices have a pin or password that only you know; and
- Work out your home’s exit points and avoid exit points that take you into a backyard.
These are just some of the tips DVCS are sharing across their social media platforms during the month of April.
DVCS is a community organisation supporting children, young people and adults impacted by domestic, family and intimate partner violence within the ACT. This includes people who use violence and are seeking to change.
In supporting all people impacted by domestic and family violence, DVCS provides crisis intervention and safety planning, legal advocacy, support groups, access to emergency accommodation and security upgrades.
DVCS provides longer term support to children, women and their families post crisis and support to men who want to address their use of violence.
DVCS is also active in awareness raising and training and training.
DVCS can be contacted on: