Ellie Price: Domestic violence during the pandemic

8 May 2020

Written by: Gianni Francis

After the violent death of Ellie Price, how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted domestic violence?

Police are still looking for Ricardo Barbaro after police found the Mercedes Benz belonging to Ellie Price in Diggers Rest overnight.

Barbaro was not located with the vehicle and the 33-year-old remains at large, following the discovery of Ellie Price’s body in her Park Street apartment in South Melbourne at about 2.15pm on Monday, 4 May.

Detectives from both the Homicide Squad and Fugitive Task Force, along with a number of other police units have been unsuccessful in locating Barbaro.

Police believe Barbaro could now be travelling in his white 2009 Toyota Hiace van, registration, 1OZ 8PC.

He is described as being approximately 185cm tall with a solid build, black hair and olive complexion.

Police have warned anyone harbouring or assisting Barbaro that they could face criminal prosecution, calling on Barbaro to come forward and make contact with police himself.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Based on reports released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, White Ribbon found that on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.

Domestic Violence Victoria anticipates that there will be an increased risk for victims and survivors of family violence and “unique challenges” to specialist family violence services providing crisis support during the pandemic.

We expect family violence incidents will increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know this because of research and evidence that family violence can become more frequent and severe during periods of emergency,” Domestic Violence Victoria said.

White Ribbon found that almost 40 percent of women continued to experience violence from their partner while temporarily separated.

Domestic Violence Victoria says public health and community containment measures introduced to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing and self-isolation, as well as increased financial insecurity and a reduced ability to leave relationships, may increase the risk of family violence.

“The person perpetrating family violence is responsible for their abusive and violent behaviour. You or your children are never responsible,” Domestic Violence Victoria said.

“Times of stress and hardship are never an excuse for violence. All people deserve to live free from fear and family violence.”

White Ribbon says one in four women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 15.

9news.com wrote on Wednesday that Queensland Officials found that the potential for a surge in domestic violence, caused by community containment measures, has pushed the state government to hold an online domestic violence summit with stakeholders and advocates to assess where funding should be directed in the future.

“I’ve been disturbed to hear from our emergency department staff that the reduction in sporting injuries and road trauma has been partially offset by trauma caused by domestic and family violence,” Health Minister Steven Miles said.

“Anything we can do to address this increase in domestic and family violence during the pandemic is really important.”


If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone’s safety, please call 000 or contact the police in your state or territory.

For confidential crisis support, information and accommodation please call the safe steps 24/7 family violence response line on 1800 015 188.

For confidential phone help and referral in Australia, please contact 1800RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 737 732.


 Image Attribution: Photo by Melanie Wasser available here and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified