The context that increases family violence post-disaster is echoed now with the COVID-19 shut-down, as families are locked in.
This includes women and children locked in with perpetrators of FV, and men who now become perpetrators of FV, triggered (though not caused) by stresses such as overcrowding, unemployment, loss of income (stock market), lost businesses, etc.
Most nurses, child-carers, personal care attendants, are women, so school shut-down will require many men to become primary carers in highly volatile situations of not having access to usual supports like grandparents, childcare centres, schools, etc. and not being able to go out.
Our research found men’s inability to meet their own, and society’s expectations of them as men, as ‘protectors and providers’ after the fires, led to a loss of identity for many men. This is likely to be replicated in the current COVID-19 situation. It is exacerbated in that it is so widespread, including urban areas across the state, Australia and the world. It is accompanied by fear and lack of control.
As a result, much of our work is directly applicable to the coronavirus context. We are currently working to adapt all our resources to this pandemic.
Keeping everyone safe in this 2019/2020 fire season extends to being willing to hear that men are vulnerable and need help, and being willing to hear women speak of emerging domestic/family violence. These are not matters to be swept aside as we revert to traditional gender roles (strong, silent men and nurturing, sacrificing women). Surviving this bushfire disaster with health and wellbeing intact relies on hearing the concerns of women, men and children, and having the knowledge to refer people to appropriate support where necessary.
Our research with men and women – in the community and in the emergency services (EM) sector – after Black Saturday has informed the following resources to help us all respond constructively and help those affected by these widespread, frightening fires:
- A five minute interview to explain gender and family violence in disasters: http://thewire.org.au/story/bushfire-domestic-violence-link/
- A guide for community recovery workers – based on hard-won wisdom from the Black Saturday fires in Buxton
- The DHHS funded ‘Roadmaps’ provide a quick way to understand how gender determines disaster risk and experience, even if you have only five minutes.
- Webinar (sadly still current): https://www.1800respect.org.au/news-and-media/press-release-archive/violence-in-times-of-disaster-october-2016/
- The GAD Pod CV has links to all our research, journal articles and to conference proceedings.
- Subscribe to our GAD Pod Communique and @GAD_Pod twitter account for updates.
- Family violence framework for emergency management. Melbourne: DHHS. (Recommends the use of GAD Pod Roadmaps and training.) https://providers.dhhs.vic.gov.au/family-violence-framework-emergency-management
- Dr Deb Parkinson's Thesis on Investigating the Increase in Domestic Violence Post Disaster: An Australian Case Study
- 1: Women and Disaster
- 2: The Relevance of Gender in Disaster risk
- 3: The Hidden Disaster – Family Violence following Natural Disasters
- 4: Checklists to keep Women and Children safe after Natural Disasters
- 5: Men on Black Saturday
- 6: Long-Term Disaster Resilience
- GAD Pod
- Men on Black Saturday
- Disaster is no excuse for family violence
- Fire planning with a gendered lens: Questions and The Facts
Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines
- The Gender and Emergency Management (GEM) Guidelines are for those working in the EM sector.
- Look at the checklist for a quick way in, then the Guidelines and, for more information, the Literature Review.