The Covid-19 lockdown has been a challenge for everyone, but for those people who live with the threat of domestic abuse, being isolated at home can lead to an escalation of the most extreme violence.
Research by the Counting Dead Women project, shows that between March 23rd, the first day of lockdown, to 12th April, there had been 16 more woman killed compared to the last 10 years. Refuge, one of the largest national domestic abuse charities, told the Home Select Committee, that on one day alone in April, they received a 700% increase in web contact, with more victims trying to reach them online rather than by the phone.
Women are having to make the choice between abuse and the virus everyday. We are seeing women flee their homes with nothing. Help us make sure that they can stay safe once they flee. Support #StaySafeAtHome. Donate Now https://t.co/aax6aOlBXC pic.twitter.com/iffR2ZAJlr
— Solace Women's Aid (@SolaceWomensAid) April 9, 2020
Chief Inspector Mark Thorley of Staffordshire Police, said “Once the Government introduced the lockdown measures there was an understandable concern and anticipation that this would lock “victims” in with their abusers, which would lead to an increase in domestic abuse.”
Chief Inspector Thorley, also said that Staffordshire Police have been helping those in Domestic Abuse Households. “We have recently reviewed our records relating to those who have reported Domestic Abuse frequently, but have not since the lockdown began. If it is the case that this lack of contact cannot be explained we are taking positive steps to engage with those callers to ensure they are safe and well.”
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— Staffordshire Police (@StaffsPolice) May 8, 2020
A survivor of 10 year domestic abuse relationship shared her concerns for potential victims during the lockdown. “Living with an abuser on a regular day is scary, but knowing you are trapped in the same 4 walls without the option of going to work or seeing family members is horrific”
She was also fearful of how many victims may be isolated that cannot get help, she said. “From my experience, you aren’t allowed to text anyone without showing them, who you are texting and what you are saying.”
Sarah Parry, an adviser at Stafford’s Women’s Aid said ‘During lockdown we’ve had to adapt most of the things we do, with more online and phone support rather than home visits and group work”. Sarah also indicated that Boots are now offering a ‘safe space’ scheme for victims of domestic abuse.
Boots has been one of the handful of stores that has remained open throughout the pandemic. It is now providing a safe spaces within its stores, offering a private refuge for those who may be struggling with an abuser. Including Boots’ flagship Nottingham store.
For advice on Domestic Abuse: https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/