Support for DV awareness campaign ‘no-brainer’ for business
"IT'S a no-brainer," said Grafton pop-up cafe owner Ryan Ashington when his business was asked to take part in a domestic violence awareness campaign during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mr Ashington, a barista who operated his cafe bar out of his partner's Cuts on Fitzroy hair dressing salon, said the issue of domestic violence during the COVID-19 lockdown was truly concerning.
"Domestic violence is a big enough issue in the community at the best of times," he said.
"But with people forced to stay home, it has to magnify those issues."
So when the organisers of Shatter the Silence, a campaign designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and with providing people who want a way out with the right information, he said 'yes' without hesitation.
"There's nothing to think about really," he said. "Anything you could do to help improve things for people suffering violence at home, you would do, without being asked."
Mr Ashington said he was still waiting to take delivery of the merchandise to distribute to his customers.
Shatter the Silence has asked businesses in the Coffs Clarence Police Command to carry items carrying the information that would provide people in a domestic violence situation contact numbers to provide immediate help.
The merchandise includes, coffee cups, stickers, coasters and brochures with the phone numbers of police and other agencies who could provide immediate help to a person in danger of a domestic assault
Although not the lead agency for the program, the police command has used its manpower to gather support for the project.
"We've had officers going around to businesses and talking with owners," a police spokeswoman said.
"We've wanted to get out to businesses like cafes, newsagencies and retail outlets so people can pick up these items.
"We know people say they don't take action on domestic violence because they don't know how to find help.
"These items are everyday things that can be put up around the house or on the side of a coffee cup so people can use them easily."
Local police said there had not been the predicted spike of domestic violence call outs during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
"It's been very pleasing," the police spokeswoman said. "If anything there has been a tiny drop in the number of DV reporting."
She said police did not speculate on the view people trapped at home isolating from the disease did not report incidents to police because their abusers were still in the house with them.
"We don't have any data to support or not support that argument," she said. "Until we get data police would not speculate on that."
Organisations behind the campaign in the Clarence Valley include Clarence Valley Council, CRANES and the Clarence Valley Domestic and Family Violence Committee.
Businesses including Heart and Soul Wholefoods Cafe, Toast, and the Brewhouse Cafe have thrown their support into the campaign.
One of the lead agencies in the campaign, Warrina Domestic & Family Violence Specialist Services, was not available for comment.