Everyone living under the new regulations around Covid-19 is feeling some new pressure, and for people who were already suffering stress, it’s been compounded.

Last year 88 children and their mothers escaping domestic violence slept in beds at Delvena on Sydney’s lower north shore and its sister refuge, Bringa, on the northern beaches. This year in the Covid-19 period, Delvena has found demand for its refuge and family counselling services have skyrocketed, spiking at the Easter weekend.

“Our website showed a 350% increase in hits the day before Good Friday, compared with the same day in March,” says Sue Heins, Chair of the Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre which manages Delvena.

Sue Heins, Chair of the Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre which manages Delvena

The effects of social isolation on families in difficult situations is so well recognised that even the Family Court has drawn up a list of Covid-19-affected cases to be heard urgently. All organisations need to balance the risks around Covid-19 with their operations and, as a communal living refuge, Delvena’s scales weigh heavy.

“We and our clients have to balance the risk of catching a virus with a possible consequence of not saving someone’s life because they stayed at home with domestic violence,” says Sue.

“The stress for mums living with us is understandably high, as are their concerns when a new family moves in because there’s a possibility of infection moving in, too.”

Sue and Delvena colleagues see mothers living with domestic violence who are trying to stay at home longer despite being cooped up at home due to restrictions on places to go. Yet this also means their situations are becoming much more dangerous at home at a time when support such as police resources, the national domestic violence hotline and family counselling services are all stretched thin.

“There’s an unexpected demand for nappies at our refuges because babies are being delivered unexpectedly early – due to the extra pressure of COVID-19 lockdowns and distancing,” says Sue.

The shortage is exacerbated because some daycare centres are trying to avoid spreading Covid-19 by not supplying nappies or food for toddlers and, Sue says, “families are finding it tough to stretch their budgets to cover the gap”.

“The community as always has been sensational in their support of what Delvena needs and we want to thank everyone for their generosity in donating many goods to our families – they are so appreciative, as are we.

SCS not only collects specific donations for Delvena but have opened up our foodbank to the organisers to ensure that all the families have lots of good healthy food to sustain them and their children.

Please help relieve the pressure at Delvena refuge where families and staff are grateful to our generous local community for groceries and to Harris Farm for fruit and vegies – but women and children still urgently need: –
– Breakfast cereals, pasta, rice
– Hand sanitisers and spray disinfectant
– Nappies (especially sizes 1 & 6!) and baby wipes.
Your donation can be dropped at SCS at 46 Gladesville Road, Hunters Hill and 1 Pottery Lane, Lane Cove. Our offices are open 8.30am-4pm weekdays.

If you’d like to donate funds, you can do it online  where other ways to donate are also outlined. Or phone us on 9427 6425.

See more information about our hardship services at our website.

See more about Delvena at https://bit.ly/2VJWEE2