Hornsby-Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter (HKWS) is calling for greater collaboration between healthcare professional to cope with an expected surge in demand from women facing abuse or homelessness throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
HKWS, as part of the Women’s Community Shelters network, is preparing for a potential 30% increase in demand for support services and is seeking pro bono assistance from health providers (psychologists/counsellors) who can provide services digitally, HKWS President Louise McCann said.
“Fear of uncertainty, job loss and financial stress are key risks that could lead to an increase in domestic violence,” she said.
HKWS housed 58 clients last year, but was forced to turn away 105 women because of a lack of resources and as such is expanding its outreach services to help more women in need during this difficult period, Ms McCann said.
“As part of this we are extending the provision of mental health support, which is even more important at this time.”
Ms McCann says HKWS is also launching an awareness campaign to reach out to local and regional health professionals and services to inform them about the essential services HKWS can offer patients as often health professionals don’t know where to refer patients after treatment.