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Domestic abuse and COVID-19

We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone – but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse, and the professionals working hard to support them. On this page we will be sharing resources to help support you through this time, and will be adding more as things progress. As always, if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if you are not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55.

For people experiencing domestic abuse

It's important to know that you are not alone. Even if you are unable to leave your home at the moment, you can still access support through one of the helplines.

Read our guide for staying safe during COVID-19 for victims and survivors or download the PDF.

Surviving Economic Abuse have produced guidance on economic abuse while self-isolating, as well as practical issues including benefits and sick pay. The guidance is updated regularly as the situation changes.

Citizens Advice have guidance on coronavirus and you can contact your local office by phone, email and some provide a web service. Check your local office website for the most up to date information on contact details. 

Online support

Support is available from Women's Aid's online chat service, open from 10am-12pm Monday-Friday.

Chayn provides online tools, information, courses and support for people experiencing abuse, all free to access. Their Soul Medicine courses provide bitesized support, delivered in disguised emails at a time that you choose. They are also launching a secure Telegram channel to provide particular support during this time. 

If you need to secure your devices or clear your browsing history after accessing support, take a look at Chayn's DIY online safety guide.

Making your voice heard

We want to ensure that your voice is being heard by us, policymakers and the wider world. If you can spare a couple of minutes, please complete this very short survey to tell the Government what people experiencing abuse need. Your response will be completely anonymous.

Here's what survivors are saying. We're using these responses to influence Government and inform others in the sector. We will be updating this document regularly to ensure survivor voice is always reflected. 

Resources for parents and children

Domestic abuse impacts the whole family, particularly when schools are closed and children are at home. West Sussex Connect service have kindly provided this Parent Pack, full of useful ideas for activities to do with children, links to educational resources, and helpful advice for helping children to talk about their worries. 

Rights of Women have produced guidance on COVID-19 and child contact arrangements.

Feeling connected and looking after your wellbeing

To read uplifting and empowering words from other survivors, sign up to Voices Together – our newsletter written by and for survivors of domestic abuse.

Podcast: Rachel Williams, survivor and SafeLives Pioneer, talks to Jo Silver about how survivors may be feeling at the moment, and shares tips and advice to let you know you're not alone.

For professionals

If you're a domestic abuse professional, part of a Marac or work around domestic abuse in any other capacity, please join the free SafeLives Community. Here you can connect with other professionals and access the latest guidance from SafeLives. We will keep adding new coronavirus related guidance to the Community as things continue to change.

View guidance for multi-agency forums (including Maracs) on responding to the challenges of COVID-19.

The Domestic Abuse and Housing Alliance (DAHA) have produced guidance and resources for housing providers on responding to domestic abuse during the current crisis.

Podcast: Jo Silver speaks to DCC Louisa Rolfe of West Midlands Police, about how the Police are responding to domestic abuse in the current situation

 

Podcast: Jo Silver speaks to Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, about the work going on on the frontline to support victims during the pandemic.

For policymakers

Please read our latest briefing for MPs setting out the key issues faced by people experiencing abuse at this time, and what must be done to support them.

VAWG sector joint statement on COVID-19.

Further reading

Podcast:

SafeLives CEO, Suzanne Jacob, OBE, appeared as a guest alongside other experts on Charlie Webster's podcast, Unmissable, offering guidance to all victims, survivors and the general public in this time. Listen to the episode: The Devastating Effects Of COVID-19 On Victims And Survivors Of Domestic Abuse

Research and briefings:

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Violence against Women and Girls
An Exploratory Investigation: Post-disaster Predictors of Intimate Partner Violence 
Briefing: Covid-19 – Gender and other Equality Issues

Articles:

The Conversation - Coronavirus lockdown is a dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse (19 March 2020)
Time - As cities go on lockdown, victims look for a way out (18 March 2020)
Sixth Tone - Domestic violence cases surge during COVID-19 (2 March 2020)
Prospect - Experts say coronavirus could increase domestic violence (16 March 2020)
BBC - Five ways virus upheaval is hitting women in Asia (8 March 2020)
Refinery 29 (USA) - How coronavirus quarantining could lead to an increase in domestic violence (20 March 2020)
Screen shot (Italy) - Preventative measures against COVID-19 in Italy show how hard quarantine can get (22 March 2020)
The National Scot (Scotland) - We need new ways to protect women from violence during pandemic (22 March 2020)
The Guardian - Lockdowns around the world bring rise in domestic violence (28 March 2020)
The Guardian - Australian government pumps $1bn into health and family violence services (28 March 2020)
BBC - Coronavirus: Domestic abuse victims 'still allowed to leave home' (29 March 2020)
The Independent - Coronavirus: Migrant domestic abuse victims blocked from shelters (30 March 2020)