Whilst individuals, families and the country as a whole face increasingly difficult and uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes even more important that we work together to ensure that those who may be vulnerable or at risk get the vital support they need. Although inconvenient for many, the current government measures should increase our safety, but for survivors of domestic abuse and their children home can be a place of fear and often danger. We know that the risk to survivors and their children will increase as ‘social distancing’, self-isolation and the financial impact of the pandemic becomes a reality.
Perpetrators often attempt to isolate their partners from family, friends, work and community and the pandemic provides them with an increased ability to do so. We know each year at Christmas survivors are more likely to experience incidents of abuse as families are forced together and perpetrators consume alcohol more frequently providing them with further excuses for why abuse has occurred.
Similarly, during economic instability and previous recessions, rates of domestic abuse have increased. We are therefore facing a complex and scary picture. We are also concerned that survivors’ ability to seek support from services like ours will become more difficult as perpetrators spend more time at home. Survivors have shown us their incredible abilities to risk manage and safety plan in crisis situations, so we have over the years learnt from the ‘experts’. In this time of crisis we would like to reassure survivors, other professionals and our communities that we are still here.
In order to adhere to the government guidelines around ‘social distancing’ and ensure our workforce can continue to safely deliver core services, we have of course had to take certain steps. With immediate effect we have had to postpone all face to face work including group work. Until further notice we will provide Outreach support via telephone and we are working with partners in the voluntary and statutory sector to ensure the needs of survivors and children are considered and met.
We need our communities more than ever to help us continue to provide life-saving support for survivors and children, so please consider doing the following; Please listen out for your neighbours and call for help if you think someone is at risk. If safe to do so, please reach out to anyone you believe is in an abusive relationship and encourage them to contact us for advice and support, in particular around safety planning during these times. If it is not safe for the survivors themselves to contact us then we are always willing to support friends, family and any professional, so they can safely pass information on.
Above all be kind, survivors and children more than ever need to know that when they are ready you are there for them and that there is support available.
You can ring our helpline on 01483 898884 Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
Your call will be answered by a trained Domestic Abuse Support Worker. If we are unable to answer please leave a short message with safe contact details and we will ring you back.
We also have a 24 hour answerphone or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org . In an emergency dial 999