Lyn Alma and Jason Rushton outside Phoenix House.
Lyn Alma and Jason Rushton outside Phoenix House.

Sexual violence on the rise in the wake of virus lockdown

BUNDABERG sexual assault service Phoenix House is worried victims aren't accessing help as the coronavirus keeps people in the confines of their homes.

Director of services Jason Rushton said he had started to see a rise in sexual assault and abuse reporting in Bundaberg.

"My concern is - and what I am hearing from individuals is - that they were too scared to report any incidents due to the fear of not knowing where they were going to end up," Mr Rushton said.

"This is a huge concern for our agency in this time of home isolation.

"We do not want victims to stay in their current environments due to not having external supports or, more to the point, a place to transition to."

Mr Rushton said he was calling on people to look out for each other.

"As time progresses, we will see more domestic violence and sexual assault, as predicted by other professionals," he said.

"We are reliant on neighbours and friends to report anything outside the norm to police or Child Safety."

The Queensland Sexual Assault Network encouraged anyone affected to reach out for support and said they were moving rapidly to adapt service models.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual assault phone the 24/7 support line 1800 RESPECT.