COVID-19 and domestic abuse
The isolation measures in place during this pandemic are having a profound effect on so many. There is an overwhelming increase in the number of reports of abuse as victims are in lock down with their abusers. Sadly, this is happening on a global scale.
The household isolation instruction as a result of Coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.
On average, two women a week die at the hands of their current or former partner but in the last three weeks, this has more than doubled with a count of 16 domestic abuse killings (Victims Commissioner). The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day! (April 2020)
We need to understand that lock down itself is not the cause of abuse. It is the abuser’s choice to assert power and control that is the cause. Isolation is already a means that perpetrators use to control an individual. With the measures in place to ‘stay home’, the isolation intensifies. Home is not a safe place for many victims of abuse and with lock down, abuse is escalating and the police have warned that many individuals are becoming increasingly vulnerable. West Midlands Police arrested 400 domestic abuse suspects in the space of just two weeks. Whilst this highlights the shocking figures it reassuringly shows that the Police will come if you need them.
If you are in immediate danger and at risk of harm call 999. If you’re frightened of being heard and can’t speak then there is a way for the police to detect this using Silent Solutions – press 55 (mobile phone) and your call will be transferred and you will be asked a series of simple questions which you answer yes/no. If your call is from a landline, stay on the line and you’ll be transferred to a police call handler. You may need to put the phone down, but the line will stay open for 45 seconds in case you pick it up again.
Passing a ‘help me’ note to a neighbour or the person delivering your shopping if you’re unable to get out to the supermarket will alert people to the danger you’re facing. If you are able to get to a supermarket, pass a note to someone there. Include your name and address and explain that you’re being abused and are at serious risk of harm and and need help.
The Home Secretary has said that domestic abuse victims are allowed to leave home to seek help at refuges despite rules to stop Coronavirus spreading.
We want you to know that you are not alone and help is available. Please click on the link following for in depth information during this time of extreme challenge and difficulty.