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Women’s Safety NSW, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. (2020) Family violence and alcohol during COVID-19. Sydney: FARE.

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This report presents the results of a survey of family violence services across New South Wales (NSW) between 4 and 8 May 2020. The purpose of this survey was to assess how alcohol’s involvement in family violence has changed since the COVID-19 restrictions began.

Key insights in Family violence and alcohol during COVID-19
• A total of 53 frontline women’s specialist domestic and family violence workers from 27 family and domestic violence services in New South Wales (NSW) were surveyed between 4 and 8 May 2020.
• Nearly half (47 per cent) of the respondents reported an increase in their case load since COVID-19 restrictions began, 38 per cent reported no increase or decrease and 15 per cent reported a decrease.
• The most common reason for a reported increase in case load was demand from new clients (56 per cent), followed by demand from existing clients (20 per cent).
• Around half (51 per cent) reported that there has been an increase in the involvement of alcohol in family violence situations since the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, while 40 per cent said alcohol’s involvement had not changed and none of the respondents reported decreased involvement.
• Current issues with alcohol use and family violence identified included:
o increased alcohol use because of changed circumstances
o alcohol use increasing verbal and physical abuse
o alcohol adding to financial strain on the family.


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