Empowering Domestic Violence Survivors with Security Solutions
Empowering Domestic Violence Survivors with Security Solutions
May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, where awareness is raised about the reality of domestic violence and, most importantly, helping survivors of domestic and family abuse.
Research has revealed that over 1 in 4 women (27%) have suffered violence at the hands of their partner or a family member since age 15, compared to 1 in 8 men (12%). Now, that said, as harrowing as a statistic that is, it’s crucial to remember that many people who suffer from domestic or family violence don’t report it.
With the above in mind, Domestic and Family Violence Month is all about supporting victims of violent crime, casting a bright light on what victims are going through every day, and, ultimately, stopping it from happening. This includes devising and refining ways for:
- Domestic violence survivors to better protect themselves
- Devise strategies for making violence less difficult to carry out
- Empower survivors to speak up and get help
- Help survivors realise they’re not alone, their situation isn’t as hopeless as it seems, and there are things they can do to help themselves – empowering them
Equipping survivors of domestic violence with security and personal safety devices is an effective and immediate way of helping them reassert control over their lives, heal physically and emotionally, and build a brighter future.
Let’s explore how security solutions can empower domestic and family violence survivors and help them regain independence and the feeling of safety in their own homes.
Alarms and Panic Buttons
As well as being an effective measure for preventing break-ins, a security alarm system can be a highly-effective tool for empowering domestic violence survivors and helping them feel safer within their homes. An alarm system can be attached to a series of motion sensors & panic pendants, smartly distributed around the house, which will be triggered if someone moves past a motion device or someone presses a panic button.
This is an especially important security measure against an aggressor that frequently attempts to break into a victim’s home, particularly when paired with a 24/7 security monitoring service.
In the event they attempt to force entry into a victim’s home, a motion device or reed switch on the door can trigger a break & enter event and the professional security company surveilling the property will receive an alarm notification and send a security guard to check on the property. If the security patrol arrives to find the aggressor on the premises, they have the skills and training to try and engage and call for police back up if need be. A list of personal key holders can also be called, such as family members or friends, to alert them of the alarm event.
An alarm system becomes an even better protection measure for victims of family violence when combined with a panic button. A panic, or duress button, is a device that allows someone to send an alarm when they feel they’re in danger. This alarm can be programmed to be loud and clear to the aggressor or it can be a silent alarm, alerting the control room to action.
Panic alarms can be self-monitored or professionally monitored. A self-monitored panic button will notify a series of emergency contacts, namely family and friends, as determined by the vulnerable individual. With a professionally monitored panic button, in contrast, the alert is sent to the monitoring centre of a security service – with some duress alarms set up to notify emergency services of the local area.
Best of all, there are different panic devices that are designed to give domestic abuse survivors as many means of protection as possible. In-house panic buttons can be strategically placed throughout the house, in discreet places, so they’re not visible to the aggressor. Some of the best places to hide panic buttons include under tables and desks, behind nightstands, inside chests of drawers and cabinets, and behind headboards. It’s also wise to install them inside your children’s rooms and teach them how to use them, in case you can’t reach one.
Alternatively, an individual can wear a wireless panic pendant, a mobile duress device that enables a domestic violence survivor to always have a means of protection on their person whilst in the home. While some panic pendants are small buttons that resemble a car key fob or keyring, others are designed to look like smartwatches for added discretion.
Also, as well as physical devices, domestic violence survivors can protect and empower themselves with a duress button smartphone app. Some apps allow vulnerable individuals to send a distress notification with a simple press of the ‘panic’ button but please note this requires good WiFi to the phone app at the time. This will push an instruction to the alarm panel to force a siren on and notify the control room or the key holders. It can also be programmed to send a silent notification.
A mum-of-three who suffered domestic violence at the hands of her partner reflected on her experiences using a panic pendant smartwatch, “It’s been a horrible process, but I’ve done everything within my power to keep myself safe and wearing the watch is one of those things.”
CCTV and Deterrents
CCTV security cameras provide another incredibly potent way for domestic and family violence survivors to reclaim their personal power and feel less afraid within their homes. Security cameras are an excellent deterrent, as they immediately let violent people know they’re being watched, and their actions are recorded. Similarly, they provide an undeniable account of any crime they commit – whether assault, spiteful acts of vandalism, or unauthorised entry. Best of all, video evidence can help attain an intervention order or domestic violence order (DVO).
Security Cameras can be self-monitored. With self-monitored security cameras, a vulnerable person can view live footage through a connected app on their mobile device. Self-monitored cameras record footage on motion – and send a notification to the app during that motion, giving you peace of mind, knowing when someone is hanging around. It is best to combine security cameras with a panic alarm to gain the most control out of knowing who is at your home and obtaining support should you need it. Professional 24/7 monitoring provides family violence survivors with protection around the clock.
Now, while the sight of a CCTV camera is a deterrent in itself, it still relies on the criminal noticing it to be effective. Furthermore, a bold perpetrator may just choose to ignore it: this makes it a passive deterrent. An active deterrent camera, in contrast, attracts attention when someone comes close to it, by activating flashing lights and a siren and/or recorded message. Furthermore, upon realising someone is on their property, the property owner can address the person directly through the camera’s two-way talk.
A doorbell camera is another excellent measure for helping repair the confidence and self-reliance of domestic violence survivors, allowing them to see who’s at the door through a display or on their phone.
Other security solutions that act as deterrents and can help empower survivors of domestic violence include:
- Motion-activated spotlights: these prevent people from sneaking up on your property undetected
- Timed lights: to help create the impression you’re home. This has the dual benefit of preventing an aggressor from learning your daily routines and fooling them into thinking your house is occupied, if they intend to break in when you’re away.
- Security screens: e.g., Crimsafe, add another barrier to false entry and make it far more likely an aggressor will be detected and intercepted by security and/or police.
Are you or someone you know a survivor of domestic violence? Regain control and independence with tailored security solutions designed to keep you safe. Take the first step towards a more secure future – contact our team of experts today and let us help you find the perfect security solution.
The Importance of Emotional Recovery
Although survivors of domestic or family violence suffer significant physical harm, their psychological abuse is often far worse and affects them more deeply. While the threat may be gone, the feeling of being in danger and vulnerability lingers far longer, resulting in constant anxiety, fear, and sleeplessness. This is why it’s crucial for survivors of domestic violence to recover emotionally – fortunately, security solutions can provide the mental space required to do so.
The first way that security solutions can assist emotional recovery is by making the individual feel supported. Devices like security cameras and panic buttons help reassure survivors of domestic violence that they’re being watched over and protected – a huge and much-welcomed contrast to feeling alone and vulnerable.
Additionally, knowing that someone will come to their aid quickly if someone looking to do them harm comes to their home helps makes them feel safe. If they have a security camera with a self-monitoring option, they can rely on their designated emergency contacts, such as a relative or close friend, being alerted to the aggressor’s presence and coming to or sending help. Professional back-to-base monitoring provides an even more reliable and definitive alternative, as the security company has the resources to surveil the property 24/7 – and offer immediate assistance.
To prove this, there was a trial that saw 280 survivors of domestic violence issued panic pendants to increase their security and self-confidence. Six months later, 84% of the participants detailed feeling safer and having greater peace of mind. Better still, of the participants with children, 80% reported that the duress alarm had helped make their kids safer. 
The combination of greater safety and support combined to give domestic and family violence survivors greater stability: that their lives are redeveloping a consistency and rhythm that allows them to heal emotionally.
Another vital way domestic violence survivors can facilitate emotional recovery is by attending counselling. And while many people understand how counselling or therapy would benefit them, they’re concerned about the cost. Fortunately, survivors of domestic and family violence can receive financial assistance that will pay for their counselling expenses – as well as security equipment – which we’ll detail in the next section.
Financial Assistance for Victims of Crime
Thankfully, in addition to increasing awareness of and education about domestic and family violence, there are increasing resources available for survivors. Most notably, the Queensland Government has a financial assistance program for victims of violent crime like domestic or family abuse – called Victim Assist.
Firstly, victims of violent crime are eligible for a one-off, lump sum special assistance payment. The amount awarded depends on the crime committed against the victim, the seriousness of their injuries, and the general circumstances surrounding the violence – but the payment can be as much as $10,000.
Additionally, individuals can apply for financial assistance as the primary victim of the violence or as a witness to violence in their homes. In the case of children (under 18 years of age), they can apply for financial assistance themselves or their parents can apply on their behalf. Adults can also apply as a parent of a child affected by domestic violence, if they were mentally harmed by the abuse inflicted upon their child.
As well as the special assistance payment, Victim Assist allows survivors of domestic violence to claim other expenses related to their ongoing recovery. Subsequently, a primary victim of violent crime can claim:
- Medical expenses
- Counselling expenses
- Travel to medical and counselling appointments
- Legal expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Damage to clothing
- Other recovery expenses
Now, under other recovery expenses, you’ll find security expenses – which cover the cost of security solutions within the victim’s home or business up to $5,000. This includes:
- Motion sensor lights
- Security screens and doors
- Security alarm systems and cameras
- A personal duress alarm (sometimes called a pendant alarm)
- A phone capable of an internet connection (up to $300)
- Repairs to improve the security of your home (e.g., new doors, windows, locks, etc.)
Conversely, it doesn’t cover 24/7 security monitoring subscriptions, phone bills, or other service fees. Fortunately, if the individual would feel safer with professional monitoring, they can use their special assistance payment to finance the monthly subscription.
To claim financial assistance, the domestic violence survivor will need to:
➔ Report the crime
➔ Fill in the primary victim application form
➔ Describe their injuries
➔ Prove their identity by including clear copies or photos of a birth certificate, passport, driving license, I.D. card or other primary form of identification.
Additionally, if claiming expenses, they will need to provide receipts or invoices for each item. It’s also important to note that they must apply for financial assistance within three years of the violent crime. However, extensions can be granted in certain circumstances, if they contact Victim Assist.
For survivors of domestic and family violence, the past doesn’t have to equal the future. They don’t have to feel afraid, alone, and vulnerable, and there is a growing range of security solutions out there that can help them better protect themselves, recover physically and emotionally, and rebuild their confidence and self-reliance
Please pass this article and similar resources on to those in need, or those supporting those in need, and continue to increase awareness of Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month
-  https://sistersofcharityfoundation.org.au/blog/wristwatch-saving-victims-of-domestic-violence/
-  https://www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/support-victims-abuse/domestic-family-violence
-  https://www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/victims-and-witnesses-of-crime/financial-assistance