Domestic abuse can occur in any relationship. It has been reported that 1 in 3 women are abused by an intimate male partner; while 1 in 4 women are abusive towards their male partners. DA in same-sex relationships (25-33% of couples) is a similar percentage to that in heterosexual couples.
A side effect of lockdown is that while we’re trying to save so many lives by staying at home, those people who are in vulnerable groups are now more at risk from domestic abuse. Those who live with an abuser are captive within their own home and this has led to Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, having a dedicated page to COVID-19! In part, this is due to a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in one single day. Another helpline for those who perpetrate domestic abuse has also received 25% more calls since the lockdown began.
Whilst thankfully the number of cases are currently in decline in the UK, and restrictions are being lifted, it could be a long time before things go back to ‘normal’. The WHO is currently reporting that globally COVID-19 is far from under control with many cities around the world experiencing a second wave of infection. UK scientists are also warning about the ongoing threat which could lead to restrictions being reimposed either locally or nationally in the coming months. This, along with the fears of increased levels of unemployment, financial worries, ongoing isolation from friends and family, and other related factors mean that we may continue to see incidences of domestic violence continue to rise.
Of course, rises in domestic abuse aren’t just COVID related. Reports show that there can be a number of triggers including major sporting events and the festive season, so sadly this is an issue that won’t go away when coronavirus finally does. We need to make sure we’re always vigilant and available to offer support.
Silent solution– What to do if you need urgent police help through the 999 service, but can’t speak:
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/
Domestic Abuse Support during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://safelives.org.uk/news-views/domestic-abuse-and-covid-19
IRISi Interventions: https://safelives.org.uk/news-views/domestic-abuse-and-covid-19
Looking after your Mental Health during COVID https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
Forward Thinking Birmingham- Support during COVID-19 https://www.forwardthinkingbirmingham.org.uk/additional-support-offer-during-covid-19-coronavirus
NSPCC helpline: 0808 800 5000 If you’re worried about a child, even if you’re unsure, contact NSPCC professional counsellors for help, advice and support.
Childline 0800 1111: Offers free, confidential advice and support for any child 18 years or under, whatever the worry.
ICON: Babies cry: You can cope https://iconcope.org/