Covid-19 and domestic abuse: Statement

As we all prepare to cope with coronavirus and the measures we will have to adopt to conquer it, our thoughts are with those adult and child victims living with abusive perpetrators, where home is not a place of safety, but a place where they will face a potential increase in violence and psychological abuse as well as even greater isolation. Early evidence from the lockdown in China suggests that reports of domestic abuse have doubled in some areas and we know previous crises have led to an increase in perpetrators abusing their victims.

At extraordinary times like this, domestic abuse services must be thought of as part of critical national infrastructure. We want to see a dedicated focus by Government and agencies to ensure crisis funding is made available for those frontline specialist domestic abuse services so that they can continue their lifesaving work and play a role as part of public contingency planning.

Knowing abuse is likely to increase as families become more isolated, we also call for an increase in public messaging about the criminal nature of domestic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour, accompanied with funding to ensure national helplines, particularly those online, are resourced to cope with any increase in victims seeking support.

While the Police and health services will have to prioritise their role in helping to contain the virus, we want to see a clear commitment to supporting victims of domestic abuse, ensuring that the pandemic is not used as a reason to ignore the seriousness of abuse which kills two women a week.

Finally, we want to call everyone to think about their neighbours in isolation – as well as the vital food and supplies they need, they might need someone to listen, to believe and to contact support services where needed. Please ask if your friends and family are okay and provide them with ways to get help if they are not.

Helplines and support if you’re experiencing abuse

Online support

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