Shadow Pandemic: a domestic abuse learning partnership


Assembled in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, the ‘Shadow Pandemic: Domestic Abuse Learning Partnership’ brought together 11 organisations to develop a better understanding of the experiences of survivors, perpetrators and practitioners across England and how we can build on the extraordinary vigour and determination of a sector facing multiple crises. 

Supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, we have drawn together the voices of survivors and practitioners; relevant data from each organisation; and a wealth of practical and policy expertise, to evidence and explain what long-term changes are needed in the sector, as well as in national and local government following the global pandemic. 

In the last 18 months, the severity of violence and abuse have soared, and caseloads have become increasingly complex. Survivors facing inequality and discrimination – due to race and ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability, immigration status and other factors – have often been hardest hit by this escalation in abuse, and also parallel issues (economic, social, legal) linked to Covid.

Frontline service professionals are suffering vicarious trauma and chronic burnout. Staff turnover rates are alarmingly high. The domestic abuse frontline is at breaking point and there is no clarity on funding for the future.

Yet in the midst of these hugely difficult times, the specialist sector has shown remarkable resilience - rising to unprecedented challenges and finding new, innovative ways to support survivors at their most vulnerable. And we have welcomed new partners in the work – from major retailers to individual citizens. Our collective awareness, as a country, of domestic abuse and the structural inequalities that fuel it, has never been greater. 

On behalf of AAFDAChaynGalopImkaanRespectRights of Women, SafeLives, Social FinanceStanding TogetherSurviving Economic Abuse and Women’s Aid we are pleased to share our findings and recommendations in the following report: Shadow Pandemic – shining a light on Domestic Abuse during Covid.

Download here

The name of the partnership is inspired by UN Women's call to action for stakeholders to do more to support domestic abuse organisations.
While some partners work across the United Kingdom and beyond it is important to note that the funding provided by TNLCF for this partnership is for England only.