Media Coverage: Gender-based violence and help-seeking behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic

When home becomes the workplace: family violence, practitioner wellbeing and remote service delivery during COVID-19 restrictions

Print & Online Media

Truu, M (2020). 'How domestic violence services went out of their way to reach women during the pandemic’. SBS News, 29 December.

Mills, T (2020). Family violence workers burnt out in midst of 'shadow pandemic', The Age, 20 October.


Monday 26 October, 3AW
Dr Naomi Pfitzner spoke with Kulka Coulston on The Grapeview, Triple R

Responding to the 'Shadow Pandemic' - General


22 September, Channel 10 News
Director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon and lead researcher Dr Naomi Pfitzner spoke to Channel 10 about our findings indicating that violence against women has increased in prevalence, severity and complexity during the pandemic. View the news segment here.

August 2020, A Current Affair
Project lead investigator Dr Naomi Pfitzner spoke with A Current Affair about the the connection between family violence and homelessness of Australian women and the problems with temporary housing for women and children seeking refuge. You can view the segment 'Domestic violence victims feel let down' here (21 August 2020, Dr Pfitzner timestamp 4:14).

Passi, S. (2020) ‘Victims of domestic violence feel unsafe and let down by a system that is supposed to protect them’, 9Now - A Current Affair, 22 August. [online]

August 2020, National Press Club
Natasha Stott Despoja AO, inaugural Chair of Our Watch, cited the Monash research in her National Press Club Address delivered on 19 August 2020. You can watch Ms Despoja's address in full via abc iview here.

Ms Despoja observed, 'While earlier on is was difficult to get an overall picture of the extent to which women and children were experiencing increased violence and coercive behaviour in Australia during the pandemic, some clear findings have started to emerge. They show, there's been more violence in more Australian homes, the severity of violence has increased, and COVID is actually being weaponised within the home as a tool of abuse. A survey of frontline domestic workers undertaken by Monash University in April found that domestic violence had spiked since the start of the pandemic. More than half of the workers surveyed in Victoria reported an increasing frequency and severity of this violence. 59% said that COVID had increased the frequency of violence against women including 42% stating an increase in first time family violence. These results have been mirrored across the country but in Queensland for example, there was a 70% recording of practitioners seeing an escalation in the violence experienced by women in May. They also reported cases where men were using the virus to threaten and coerce women.' (timestamp 7:00 onward).

Print & Online Media

Shearer, L. (2021) 'A New Age of Support - Helping Women in a COVID-19 World', The Advocate, 15 February.

Kennedy, E. (2020) ‘“The worst year”: domestic violence soars in Australia during Covid-19’, The Guardian, 1 December.

Jepsen, B. (2020) ‘45 women dead and countless more in danger. Domestic violence is COVID-19's 'shadow pandemic'.’ Mamamia, 25 November.

Stott Despoja, N. (2020) After the virus: A plan for women, The Saturday Paper, 17-23 October.

Monash University Better Governance and Policy, Webinar blog
Naomi Pfitzner 'Structural inequality in the time of COVID-19: family violence, temporary migrants and housing'.

Pfitzner, N. & Segrave, M. (2020) ‘If you call 000 … I will send you back to your country’: how COVID-19 has trapped temporary visa holders’, The Conversation, 24 September.

On the 22nd of September Associate Professor Marie Segrave, Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Associate Professor Silke Meyer and Dr Naomi Pfitzner provided evidence to the Select Committee examining the Australian Government's response to the COVID19 pandemic. Their evidence was featured in the SBS article 'Warnings over second wave of domestic violence as financial coronavirus support winds down'.

Gailberger, J. (2020) 'Natasha Stott Despoja: Brutal truth Australia needs to face about domestic violence', 19 August.

Fitz-Gibbon, K., Pfitzner, N., & True, J. (2020) ‘More help required: the crisis in family violence during the coronavirus pandemic’, The Conversation, 18 August.

Republished in Monash Lens: Fitz-Gibbon, K., Pfitzner, N., & True, J. (2020) ‘More women seeking late-night help through online chat as COVID lockdown triggers past trauma’, Monash Lens, 18 August.

Responding to the 'Shadow Pandemic' - Queensland

Print & Online Media

Hughes, K (2020) ‘Hannah Clarke's domestic violence murder highlighted coercive control — but has anything changed?’, ABC News, 10 August.

Garcia, J. (2020) 'It's terrifying': Backlog for violent abusers program blows out to 8 months’, The Age, 15 July.

Pfitzner, N., True, J., Fitz-Gibbon, K. & Meyer, S. (2020) '"We are in a bubble that is set to burst". Why urgent support must be given to domestic violence workers', The Conversation, 1 July.

Republished in Monash Lens, Croakey, Medical X Press.

Garcia, J. (2020) 'Manipulative tactics rise in domestic violence during Queensland lockdown', Brisbane Times, 30 June.

Republished in: The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, WA Today, Brisbane Times.

Kohlbacher, S. (2020) 'Violence against Qld women worsens: study', Yahoo News, Australian Associated Press (AAP), 30 June.

Republished in: The Canberra Times, AAP, Donnybrook Bridgetown Mail, Dungog Chronicle, Wollondilly Advertiser, Eyre Peninsula Tribune, Singleton Argus, Merimbula News Weekly, Goondiwindi Argus, Northern Argus, Newcastle Star, Cessnock Advertiser, Fairfield Champion, The Scone Advocate, Mandurah Mail, Hunter Valley News, Muswellbrook Chronicle, Boorowa News, Bellingen Courier Sun, Barossa & Light Herald, St George & Sutherland Shire Leader,, Tenterfield Star, Lakes Mail, Yass Tribune, Glen Innes Examiner, Bombala Times, Eden Magnet, Wellington Times, Naracoorte Herald, Avon Valley Advocate, Esperance Express, Macarthur Advertiser, Cowra Guardian, Gloucester Advocate, Coastal Leader, Kiama Independent, Collie Mail, Port Lincoln Times, Grenfell Record, Port Pirie Recorder, Victor Harbor Times, Bunbury Mail,, Border Chronicle, Nambucca Guardian News, Hawkesbury Gazette, Guyra Argus, Wingham Chronicle, Whyalla News, Kingscote Islander, Parkes Champion-Post, Crookwell Gazette, Murray, Valley Standard, The Advocate (Hepburn), Walcha News, The Rural, West Coast Sentinel, Town &, Country Magazine, Port Stephens Examiner, The Queanbeyan Age, Flinders News, Augusta Margaret, River Mail,,, The Senior, Liverpool Champion, Oberon Review, Camden Advertiser, Wauchope Gazette, Narromine News, Forbes Advocate, Camden Haven Courier, Blue Mountains Gazette, Moree Champion, Young Witness, Braidwood Times, Nyngan Observer, Busselton Mail, Narooma News, The Stawell Times-News, Warrnambool Standard, Wimmera Mail Times, South Coast Register, Goulburn Post, Daily Liberal, Bega District News, Great Lakes Advocate, Lithgow Mercury, Mudgee Guardian, Port Macquarie News, Northern Daily Leader, Macleay Argus, Southern Cross, The North West Star, Southern Highland News, Namoi Valley Independent, Canberra Times, Cootamundra Herald, Eastern Riverina Chronicle, Central Western Daily, Harden Express, The Armidale Express, Bendigo Advertiser, The Border Mail, The Ararat Advertiser, The Advocate (Burnie), Maitland Mercury, Illawarra Mercury, Newcastle Herald, Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser, Leeton Irrigator, Bathurst Western Advocate, Inverell Times, Tasmanian Examiner, Ballarat Courier, Katherine Times, Benalla Ensign, Corowa Free Press, Campaspe News, Riverine Herald, Seymour Telegraph, Yarrawonga Chronicle, Cobram Courier, The McIvor Times, Southern Riverina News, Deniliquin Pastoral Times, Kyabram Free Press.

AAP (2020) 'Domestic violence worsens in rural and regional areas during the COVID-19 pandemic - as safe housing shortage means victims have nowhere to go', The Daily Mail (Australia), 30 June.

Republished in Brinkwire.

'Violence against and manipulation of women increases in Queensland during COVID-10 lockdowns' The National Tribune, 30 June.

Republished in Mirage News, Media Net.


Centre Director and co-author of the report, Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon, spoke with Paul Culliver on ABC Capricornia, Rockhampton Breakfast about the increase in women reaching out for help, the escalation of violence during the COVID-19 lockdown in Queensland and the need for safe housing options. Listen to the interview here (at timepoint 2 hours: 23 minutes).

Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon spoke about the Queensland data and report with 4BC Newstalk Queensland. Broadcast on 4BC Brisbane, 1071 AM (Kingaroy), 4BU (Bundaberg), 4CRB FM (Gold Coast), 4LG (Longreach), Radio 4KZ (Innisfail).

Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon on 5AA Talking Adelaide. A Monash University study has found more than a third of domestic violence specialists working in regional and metropolitan areas in Qld reported an increase in perpetrators using the COVID pandemic as an excuse to be controlling and get physical. Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon says financial stress does not give people the right to mentally or physically hurt others.

Responding to the 'Shadow Pandemic' - Victoria


Centre Director Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon discusses our findings on practitioner responses to women experiencing violence during the COVID-19 pandemic on The Project.

Centre Research Fellow and Project Chief Investigator Dr Naomi Pfitzner appeared on WIN News Bendigo, Gippsland and Ballarat alongside Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victorian CEO Emily Macguire. Dr Pfitzner presented on the findings of the research reporting that 59% of 166 family violence support workers in Victoria said the frequency of domestic violence has increased since the coronavirus lockdown.

Print & Online Media

Tuohy, W. (2020) 'More 'conflict, yelling' at home but men don't know how to find help', The Age, 19 June.

Editorial. (2020) ‘How to stop the shadow pandemic of domestic violence’, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June.

Republished as:

Editorial. (2020) ‘Long-term approach needed to tackle family violence’, The Age, 10 June.

Mills, T. (2020) 'New reports of family violence spike in COVID-19 lockdown, study finds' The Age, 8 June.

Republished in WEB MSN Australia, WA Today, Brisbane Times, The Sydney Morning Herald,

McGinn, C. (2020) 'Family violence has risen in Victoria during pandemic: report' The Courier, 8 June.

Republished in the Geelong Advertiser, Shepparton News.

Elg, H. (2020) 'Coronavirus in Ballarat: Influx in family violence reports amid COVID-19 lockdown' Mudgee Guardian, 8 June.

Republished in the Ararat Advertiser, South Coast Register, The Northern Daily LeaderSouthern Highland News, The Wimmera Mail Times, The Daily Advertiser, Western AdvocateCentral Western DailyPort Macquarie News, Katherine TimesDaily Liberal, Great Lakes Advocate, The Examiner, The Macleay Argus, The Advocate, The Armidale Express, Bega District News, Manning River TimesThe Courier, The Maitland Mercury, Milton Ulladulla Times, Cootamundra Herald, The Border Mail, Southern CrossIllawarra Mercury, The Inverell Times, Goulburn Post, Lithgow Mercury, the Bathurst Western Advocate, Batemans Bay Post, Namoi Valley Independent, The North West Star, The Advocate (Burnie), Eastern Riverina Chronicle, The Canberra Times, The Stawell Times-News, Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser, Newcastle Herald, Bendigo Advertiser, Leeton Irrigator, The Area News, Coly Point Observer, Harden Express, Warrnambool Standard, South Coast Register, Nine News.

Mirage News. (2020) 'Shadow pandemic': Violence against women increases in Victoria during COVID-19 lockdowns' Mirage News, 8 June.

Republished in The National Tribune.

Brown, N. (2020) 'Hand signal that could save someone's life' Balonne Beacon, 8 June.

Republished in Central & North Burnet Times, Chinchilla News, Coolum & North Shore News, Ballina Shire Advocate, Central Queensland News, The Stars Post. Republished as 'TikTok users demonstrate domestic violence signal for help' in the Herald Sun, Geelong Advertiser,Gold Coast BulletinNorthern Territory NewsDaily Telegraph Australia,Townsville Bulletin, The Courier Mail, The Mercury, Adelaide NowCairns Post. Republished as 'Hand signal seen on TikTok being used by domestic violence victims to reach out for help' on 7 News.

McGinn, C. (2020) 'Victorian aged care home in virus lockdown' Australian Associated Press (AAP), 9 June.

Republished as 'Regional aged care home in lockdown' in Illawarra Mercury, Newcastle Herald, Burnie Advocate, Launceston Examiner, Warrnambool Standard, Daily Advertiser, Ballarat Courier.

Dick, S. (2020) ‘“Wanted to burn me alive”: Domestic abuse rising as star shares horror story’, The New Daily, 9 June.


Centre Postdoctoral Research Fellow and lead CI Naomi Pfitzner spoke on 3CR breakfast radio about the ‘shadow' pandemic, how support providers are innovating and the importance of bystander interventions (29 July 2020, timestamp 22:50)

Centre Director and co-author of the report, Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, spoke to ABC NewsRadio's Ali Crew about the research. Dr Fitz-Gibbon highlighted some examples  of COVID-19-specific intimate partner violence. Listen to the intervew via the ABC website here.

Chief Investigator Dr Naomi Pfitzner spoke with Virginia Trioli on ABC Mornings. Listen to the conversation (from 25 minutes 25 seconds) via the ABC website here. This interview was syndicated across the following networks: ABC - South Western Victoria, Mildura - Swan Hill, Gippsland, Central Victoria, Wimmera, Goulburn Murray, Ballarat, Shepparton, Radio Melbourne, Radio National, South Western Victoria, Western Plains NSW, Central West NSW, Coffs Coast, North Coast NSW, New England North West, Upper Hunter, Riverina, South East NSW, Illawarra, Central Coast, Radio Sydney.

Dr Pfitzner spoke on SBS World News Radio with Abbie O'Brien. Listen via the SBS website here.

Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon spoke about the research on AM radio 3AW. This interview was syndicated across the following networks: 2AY, 3BA FM, 3CS, 3NE, 3WM, 3YB, 3SH, Magic 1278, Mixx FM Horsham, Mixx FM Hamilton, Coast FM, TR FM, Light FM, SEN, 2AY, 3BA FM, 3CS, 3NE, 3WM, 3YB, 3SH, Magic 1278, Mixx FM Horsham, Mixx FM Hamilton, Coast FM, TR FM, Light FM, SEN

Dr Pfitzner spoke about the research on AM radio 2DU. This interview was syndicated across the following networks: 2GF, 2HD, 2LM, 2TM, 2VM, Triple Z, 2MO, 2AD, 2NZ, 2PK, 2MG, 2EL, 2SM.