Last week The Wire broadcast a radio documentary I made about the issues facing domestic violence crisis services. For it I spent a day in domestic violence crisis service which operates asa a call centre. In journalist’s jargon we’d call this being ‘at the coalface’, ‘on the frontline’ or my favourite ‘at ground zero’.
Used as quick descriptors these words can sometimes belittle what is really going on. It can make it sound like we’re in some pseudo war or there is an enemy about to strike.
A frontline service such as the one I spent a Friday at is actually the first place a woman will call when she is fearful of her and her family’s life. She is escaping a violent partner and needs help to leave. There is no war, no enemy approaching just a call centre with overrun and understaffed social workers.
And the only way we can really tell there situation is on the brink of dire is by spending the time with them. If we were at war you would say I was imbedded with them.
You can listen to the full report here.
In the lead up to The Wire broadcast I also spoke with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill about his plans to combat domestic violence in the state.