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Latest COVID-19 update for community and social services sector, 8 April 2020

The Victorian Council of Social Services COVID-19 Sector update provides advice and resources from reputable sources relevant to the Victorian community sector. The latest bulletin released today, Wednesday 8th April, highlights the following: 

Victoria has announced new restrictions on workers, carers and visitors within "facilities where vulnerable Victorians live and receive care". These include:

• Drug and alcohol residential services

• Homelessness services

• Aged care residential services

• Disability residential services

• Specialist Disability Accommodation 

• Supported residential services

You can read the full order here.


The Federal Treasury has formally updated its guidance advice on JobKeeper payments and NFPs registered with the ACNC. Charities will now be be eligible for the subsidy if they estimate their turnover has fallen, or will likely fall, by 15 per cent or more relative to a comparable period. Read more here.


Most Victorian school children will learn from home in Term 2, with Premier Daniel Andrews telling students "if you can study from home, you must study from home". The government has unveiled a broad package to facilitate remote learning and support children without internet access or who might have other vulnerabilities, picking up on many of the topics raised by VCOSS in its COVID-19 Issues Alert.  


The Victorian Government is still working on the details of package designed to keep tenants safe in their homes during the Coronavirus crisis. While the Federal Government has announced a national ban on rental evictions and details for supporting commercial tenants, much of the detail and implementation with regard to residential tenancies has fallen to the states and territories.


Victoria's Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner, Kristen Hilton, has warned of the importance of protecting human rights during the Coronavirus crisis. "It’s vital that we hang onto humanity in the face of extraordinary challenges and consider the longer term consequences of actions and decisions that we make now," she writes in a new article.


The Federal Health Department has created a number of translated COVID-19 Fact Sheets in languages. These are on:

• close contact with confirmed cases 

• community return

• FAQ’s

• identifying symptoms

• isolation guidance

• residential care services

• early childhood centres

• social distancing


In this time of physical distancing and self-isolation, we need to remember home is not always the safest place. For some in our community – job losses and insecure housing can mean that we are forced back to homes with family or friends, which can be highly conflictual and for others, unsafe. Research shows the rates and severity of Family Violence increase significantly following natural disasters and periods of isolation. This is not because all people suddenly become violent, but because people who have used violence previously are in circumstances which enable greater access to their partners and family and can have more opportunities to use violence. There are also often reduced resources, community support services and police availability during times of crisis. We need to prepare and do what we can to support ourselves, our families and our communities. The most important thing is to be aware of what resources and supports are available to anyone experiencing family violence and how to access them.

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