More crisis calls after Batty appearances

Domestic violence crisis centres get more calls whenever Rosie Batty appears on television.


They also hear of violent men who tell their partners not to get any ideas about leaving relationships when the 2015 Australian of the Year is in the media.

The centres are expecting another huge increase in calls when the Family Violence Royal Commission hands its findings to the Victorian government next week.

“Just when the royal commission report was announced there was a 30 per cent spike in calls to Safe Steps (crisis line),” Family Violence Minister Fiona Richardson told reporters on Wednesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced almost $10 million to improve capacity at crisis lines before the royal commission’s findings are released.

Those crisis lines get more calls whenever Ms Batty appears on screen or in reports.

“What we hear from victims of family violence is … their partners or their husbands are saying ‘don’t get any ideas about leaving this relationship’ as a consequence of the work that Rosie is doing,” Ms Richardson said.

Mr Andrews said there was some evidence of an increase in incidents when family violence was talked about in the media.

“We have to be there for these women to catch them when they make the terrifying leap to leave,” Mr Andrews said.

Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive Fiona McCormack said demand had been increasing for a decade.

“We’ve seen a 70 per cent increase in demand in the last five years – and we haven’t seen the commensurate investment,” Ms McCormack told reporters.

Crisis centres have had to take workers off follow-up case management roles just to deal with the intake of new victims.

Ms Batty will lead a victims’ advisory council to make sure victims’ voices and experiences are heard as the government rolls out its response to the royal commission.

The new funding includes $6 million for crisis accommodation, counselling, women’s health and behaviour change programs, among other things.

The royal commission’s final report will be handed to the governor on March 29.