A national inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence will provide the first opportunity to "apply a forensic approach" to abuse being experienced during COVID-19.
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon is the deputy chair for the inquiry, which is accepting submissions until July 24, and said she will be advocating for a public hearing to be held in Newcastle.
"It's pretty critical we have a line of sight over what's been happening during the lockdown and shutdown period," Ms Claydon said.
"What that means for services, who have had to change the way they are delivering services, but it is also going to highlight [experiences].
"The evidence I've seen out of Victoria is pretty horrific in terms of what has been the spike in incidence of violence, the early evidence based on both the internet searches and services that have been quite proactive reaching out to women and children they know are in precarious situations."
She said COVID-19 had put families under significant pressure, while also reducing their opportunity to seek help through social interactions.
"There's been some really horrible examples of perpetrators using COVID-19 as a tool to inflict more terror and violence, perpetrators use it as a form of coercive control, saying 'You are not allowed to leave home under any circumstances whatsoever because there's a contaminant out there'," she said.
"Or deliberately inviting people into the household, their mates generally - this is psychological trauma and terror, we don't know if it's true or not - saying 'These guys are positive and if you step out of line they will leave behind their virus here for you and the kids'."
The inquiry terms of reference are broad, starting with immediate and long-term measures to prevent violence against women and their children and improve gender equality; best practice and lessons from international experience; and the level and impact of coordination between governments, community organisations and business.
It will also probe the way that health, housing, access to services, including legal services, and women's economic independence impact on the ability of women to escape; all forms of violence; the efficacy of perpetrator intervention programs and support services for men; views and experiences of frontline services; and the experiences of all women, including those who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, rural, have a disability, are on temporary visas, are LGBTQI and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Ms Claydon said despite ongoing efforts, incidents of domestic violence were not decreasing.
"We've got to have some things in place to start disrupting the model right now."
She said Australia has in the past led the world in public health campaigns around smoking, drink driving and seatbelts.
Violence, she said, is a "'critical public health issue" too.
"How do we start running campaigns that speak to perpetrators... those 'say no to violence' campaigns haven't hit the mark to make a difference to perpetrators."
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