Chrissy Leontios.
Chrissy Leontios.

HIDDEN SHAME: DV explodes in Townsville

It's society's dark underbelly and one of Townsville's leading family lawyers says domestic violence was rife in the city during the COVID-19 lockdown.

CLEON Legal principal lawyer Chrissy Leontios said the firm had been run off its feet with calls from distressed partners since Queensland began easing restrictions in June.

"It's been really interesting, we're seeing a big rise of people contacting us now," Miss Leontios said.

"People are starting to go back to work and getting away from their situation, but when they were in lockdown they weren't able to reach out to us.

"It made it more difficult for people to access legal advice safely because their partner was always around and keeping an eye on their every move.

"Now they are able to contact us when they're shopping, on lunch at work or taking the kids to school."

Miss Leontios said there were 10 Australian women killed in a six-week period during COVID, a statistic which should rock the country and bring about change.

"This is the real health crisis in Australia right now," Miss Leontios said.

The experienced family lawyer was hopeful those who had been victims of abuse during coronavirus may be set free from their toxic situation.

Miss Leontios said domestic violence wasn't always physical, and victims were often being terrorised by other forms of abuse and oppression.

"Lockdown exaggerated domestic violence for a lot of people," she said.

"There were victims who were already being controlled and COVID only made that worse.

"Perpetrators like to isolate the victim from their family and friends and have them under surveillance, so COVID made it even easier for them.

"It makes the victim feel like they can't escape. Domestic violence isn't always a black eye."

Miss Leontios was also fearful domestic violence may have become a prominent issue in indigenous communities, including Palm Island, over the past few months.

"What else hasn't been in the media, which is particularly important because of the Black Lives Matter movement, is indigenous people experiencing domestic and family violence," she said.

"A lot of indigenous communities were shut down for a long time, so there were women and children in danger in remote areas who wouldn't have been able to leave."

>>If you've been the victim of domestic and family violence you can contact CLEON Legal on 4725 3462.

Originally published as HIDDEN SHAME: DV explodes in Townsville