With all of us being urged to stay home to protect the community from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to acknowledge that the home is not always a secure and safe place to be – particularly if you are in a violent or emotionally abusive relationship.

According to a recent Google statement, online searches regarding domestic violence in New South Wales have increased by 75 per cent since the first recorded COVID-19 cases in the state, demonstrating that many victims are finding themselves in a more vulnerable position confined to their homes with their abuser.

In order to reach out to these victims in a practical and innovative way, King IT located at Stockland Birtinya and Caloundra have partnered with the Red Rose Foundation to develop a pilot project that collects unwanted mobile phones and delivers them to those in need.

Red Rose Foundation CEO, Betty Taylor said that a mobile phone is something that many of us take for granted, but it can be a lifesaver for a victim of domestic violence.

“Often the mobile phone is the first thing to be destroyed, hacked or taken in a domestic violence situation which means a victim has no way of making that emergency call,” said Ms Taylor.

“Having a second phone hidden away is an important part of a victim’s safety planning and provides them security and the ability to reach out for help.”

The pilot project, ‘DV Safe Phone’, is being launched to coincide with Queensland's Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month in May and supports the no tolerance policy of domestic and family violence in Queensland communities.

Sunshine Coast residents are being urged to get behind the pilot project and find 300 unwanted working phones and cables in their drawers and cupboards at home or at work.

Domestic Violence Business Solutions CEO, Janine Lee said this campaign provides a simple and straightforward way to assist those in need.

“We are asking people to bring their phones – of any make or model - and cables into one of the three King IT stores located on the Sunshine Coast at Sunshine Plaza, Stockland Caloundra and Stockland Birtinya, when they are next doing their essential grocery shopping or alternatively post to PO Box 1440 Mooloolaba QLD 4557,” said Ms Lee.

“All phones will be completely wiped of personal details and then have pre-loaded emergency numbers for victims to access.”

Red Rose Foundation will be responsible for delivery of the phones and Ms Taylor said that the impact of these phones can not be underestimated.