Published on March 5, 2014
Domestic and Family Violence emergency relief and disasters Moo Baulch firstname.lastname@example.org
DVNSW Our vision is: A world where women and children live free from violence, have equal rights, opportunities and freedom to reach their potential. Mission: We work to eliminate domestic and family violence, through leadership in policy, advocacy, partnerships and the promotion of best practice.
Acknowledgements – work of others • Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Wangaratta. • International evidence post disasters – Hurricane Katrina, NZ (floods and earthquake), US, Canada. • QLD, growing body of evidence post floods. • ADFVC, Megan Sety – Thematic Review, February 2012.
Why is an understand of DFV important in the context emergency relief? • Power and control, range of behaviours. • Emergency Relief designed to assist vulnerable people to maintain dignity, build resilience and access support services. • Relatively little research done in the area of emergency relief and DFV, growing body of evidence on natural disasters.
What do we know? • • • • • DFV increasing problem in Australia. Underreported Effects on adults, children, communities. Most men are not violent. Men can also be affected/victims but DFV predominantly a gendered crime. • Some communities are less likely to seek help, identify it, report to authorities.
Relationship between emergency disaster relief and domestic/family violence Few Australian statistics. Substantial increases post disaster. • NZ – aftermath of Canterbury earthquake, 53% increase. (NZ Police, 2010) • Fourfold increase following Katrina - (Anastario, Shehab & Lawry. 2009). “Increased gender-based violence among women internally displaced in Mississippi Two Years Post-Hurricane Katrina.”
Post disaster – trends? • Increase in sexual assault, non intimate partner. Santa Cruz earthquake 1989 – 300% increase. (Santa Cruz City Report) • In year following Hurricane Katrina dramatic decrease in number of protection orders. • Services anecdotally report huge increases.
Impacts on victims and perpetrators • Variation of impacts. • Dependent on community, family, disaster and recovery. • Positive and negative impacts. • Psychological and material
Housing • Significant housing shortages – complexities for victims of DFV. • Primary home undamaged but not necessarily safe. • Communications and links to support damaged. • Locations of refuges are unsafe/unstable. • Isolation.
Impacts on children • Custody arrangements are often disrupted. • Jenkins and Phillips (2008) exploration of disruption to arrangements when separation occurred before disaster – mothers not knowing where children were during evacuation. • Threats to child’s wellbeing, two years later still trying to return to original arrangements. • Childcare centres. • Long term unemployment. • Most needed resource – childcare. • Difficulty with accessing emergency relief funds.
Increased vulnerability for high-risk populations • CALD and refugee victims (especially when trying to access support for first time). • People with disabilities – access issues. • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Intersex and Queer people and families.
Impacts on DFV services and support • Organisation recovery and response with reduced capacity. • General demand issues. • Sometimes see a second spike in demand 2-3 months after disaster when relief services withdraw. • Loss of funding (appeals).
DFV service planning and preparation • Organisational risk, assessment and preparedness. • Impacts on staffing, written disaster plans, survival kits or transport planning for refuge clients. • Daily demands often mean its low on priority list. • General emergency management plans by state agencies tend not to include DFV or services.
Financial issues • General vulnerability – control of $$ • RRR women particularly vulnerable due to lack of access to services and supports, informal support networks, neighbours. • NILS – circular credit, micro lending, builds financial confidence, autonomy and self esteem. Low default rate 3-5% • http://www.whealth.com.au/documents/work/fi nancial_abuse/Essential_first_steps_print_versio n.pdf
Positive impacts on victims of DFV • Growth in resilience and confidence. • Connection with services, support from friends and family. • New skills • Different perspective, confidence and refusal to tolerate violence. • Practical opportunities to change.
Lessons from Black Saturday • Increase in violence, AOD, mental health, PTSD. • Preparation for all agencies desperately needed. • Women didn’t disclose for many reasons • Can use disasters as an opportunity to connect with victims – universal approach or a screening approach. • Keep stats.
• I didn’t want him to break. I didn’t want him to die. He was pretty fragile, he was pretty angry and I didn’t want him to go and smash his car into a tree or something stupid like that.
• . because you’ve gone through a trauma, you’ll continually make excuses for someone’s behaviour and you’ll actually feel helpless to escape the situation because they’re suﬀering. (Madeline) • I don’t want to betray [my sister’s] trust either, and being part of this research isn’t going to help her right now, somewhere along the line it might help someone else. (Yvette) • … I feel guilty saying these things about him and putting him down because he’s my husband and my best friend. (Ruth)
• My house was turned into a pub, it was a mess, there were things everywhere... there were ﬁve guys ... all pissed as newts ... There was a lot of free booze. (Jenny) • [My friend] lived in this street with a lot of men who were really, really traumatised. Women were traumatised, but the men really started to drink. My friend was having people rock up at the door at all times of the day. They were drinking in the street. They were getting together as blokes. (Di) • I mean he has his good moments and he can take one mouthful of alcohol and that’s it, he changes ... Probably the worst [times] are when he’s been with other guys, yeah, it’s like a drinking session. (Yvette)
Men on Black Saturday ‘What about the men?´ • Research with 32 men interviewed about their observations, feelings and experiences. • Found anger, disempowerment, homelessness, grief, trauma. • Expectations that they’d be tough, stoic, heroes. • Preparation for fires, responses and after effects.
Impacts and attitudes • Suck it up! • There's been a lot of suicides and they don't publicise it, of course ... They got killed in the fires and they just didn't know it. ... About four months ago, in about four weeks there were five people committing suicide.
Dealing with emotions • We’d get rolling drunk and terribly stoned and talk. For hours and hours and hours about it, and I think I consciously did my processing then, in that moment where everyone’s bonded and connected and able to hear strange things from other people. I was able to just be honest about how I felt and what I thought. • I feel it's quite stupid of me to be emotionally or showing such emotion even after all this time when I recall it ... I feel it's a weakness ... I'm sure that a woman could get away with it a lot easier than a man.
External pressures • Why haven't you got it together? Why haven't you got your garden fixed? Why haven't you got your house done yet? What are you doing with your life? Why haven't you gone back to work? Why haven't you? (Bernard)
What helped men? • Counselling services seen as “women’s business”. • Victorian research found that work can be done with men in different ways that is more effective. • Accessible places where men can talk whilst they’re doing something else. • Loss cost, free, flexible, less structured.
Best practice • Acknowledge and include DFV in ER and disaster planning, policies and protocols. • Prepare staff to ask, refer, assist victims to access support. • Trauma-centered systems of care. • Think outside the square and ditch the stereotypes. • Connect with local services. • Flexibility and improved access. • Data collection.
What Australian tools exist? • Podsocs – on the run from Women’s Health. http://www.whealth.com.au/ • Family Violence after Natural Disaster – training manual. http://www.whealth.com.au/environmentaljustice/family-violence-and-disaster.html#training • The Way He Tells It. Relationships After Black Saturdayhttp://www.whealth.com.au/documents/publications/whp-TheWayHeTellsIt.pdf • The Men on Black Saturday: Risks and Opportunities for Change.http://www.whealth.com.au/documents/work/about-men/Men-on-BS-Report.pdf • Beating the Flames: Women Escaping and Surviving Black Saturdayhttp://www.whealth.com.au/documents/environmentaljustice/BeatingTheFlamesBook.pdf • Proceedings from Hidden Disaster Conference 2012. http://www.whealth.com.au/history_events_hiddendisasterconference_2012.html
Other useful links • Gender and Disaster Networkhttp://www.gdnonline.org/ • NILS http://www.nilsnsw.org.au/ • Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/T hematic%20Review_3.pdf
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