If it is unsafe at home, it is ok to leave.

That’s the message from Susie Smith, Manager of Limestone Coast Domestic Violence Service, who today reiterated that specialist support remains available for individuals at risk of domestic and family violence across the state.

Co-Chair of Embolden, South Australia’s peak body of domestic, family and sexual violence services, Susie said the statewide lockdown would not necessarily lead to a rise in incidents, but it would compound the risks women faced from abusive partners.

“We would not expect a huge increase necessarily, in incidents, but rather, lockdowns or shutdowns make it much more difficult for victims to leave, seek help and get support,’’ she said.

“Having said that, families confined to their homes are less able to enact safety plans and stressful situations may be exacerbated.

“But we want to be really clear that lockdowns are not an excuse or reason for violence. Perpetrators, make a choice to use violence in the home. The responsibility sits squarely with them.

“The key message is, if it is unsafe at home it is ok to leave.’’

Centacare’s specialist domestic violence services in Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, the Riverland and Whyalla are operating as normal during the lockdown, and continue to take referrals and enact safety plans.

Other support can be accessed through the state-wide Domestic Violence Gateway hotline, available 24/7 on 1800 800 098, and 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.