The Hidden Impact of Coronavirus: Safeguarding Against Domestic Abuse in Challenging Times

Across the globe, countries are implementing lock-down measures to tackle Covid-19.

In the UK we are experiencing a three-week lock-down. Families are spending an increased amount of time at home whilst managing additional caring responsibilities and increased financial demands. This can increase tensions within the home and in some situations lead to an increase in domestic abuse cases.

We have provided an overview of the support available to those at risk of domestic abuse below. We  have further resources on domestic abuse and coronavirus available here. 

What is Domestic Abuse?

Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as:

An incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.

Spotting the signs

At this challenging time it is essential that we safeguard our family and friends along with those in our local communities who could be at risk.

Domestic abuse can take many forms. The guide below can help you to spot the signs:

  • Emotional Abuse – e.g. belittling you, isolating you from friends and family, controlling where you go and who you talk to.
  • Threats and Intimidation – e.g. threatening to hurt/kill you, harassing or following you.
  • Physical – e.g. hitting you, shoving you, throwing things at you, choking you.
  • Sexual – e.g. pressures you into having sex, touches you in a way that you don’t want to be touched.
  • Financial – e.g. controlling your use of money, not giving you enough money to survive.
  • Watch our short video to find out more
  • Complete the online questionnaire created by Women’s Aid to help you recognise if you or a friend are in an abusive relationship
  • Read our ‘We Matter Too!’ report which addresses the needs of disabled young people facing domestic abuse

How can you safeguard yourself against domestic abuse in the coronavirus pandemic?

Being isolated in your home will make this challenging time even more difficult for those experiencing domestic abuse.

We want to reassure you that there continues to be support available throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

You will be supported should you have concerns about your safety and wellbeing.

  • Always keep a mobile with you.
  • Use Silent Solutions. If you find yourself in immediate danger but unable to speak over the phone, call 999 followed by dialling 55. This will trigger an emergency response from the police.
  • Find out about your housing rights. Contact Shelter for free, confidential housing advice.
  • Contact Turn2Us if you are concerned about your financial situation and would like to know more about benefits you could be entitled to.
  • Get in touch with your Local Authority for support and advice. They will still be working throughout the pandemic and continuing to offer a duty service
  • Access healthcare if you need to.
  • Download Hestia’s Bright Sky App. The app provides support for anyone experiencing domestic abuse, or someone concerned about a friend or family member.

Who can I contact if I need support?

How can I support someone at risk from domestic abuse?

  • Encourage them to contact one of the services above, such as Women’s Aid, Safe Lives or the Men’s Advice Line.
  • Advise them to phone 999 in an emergency and use the 55 code if necessary
  • Reassure them that there is support available. They will be listened to if they are concerned about their safety and wellbeing
  • Inform them they can use private browsing to hide their internet search history
  • Share our directory of useful contacts
  • Share this easy to read guide from The Portal to raise awareness of domestic abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, contact one of the organisations listed above as soon as possible.

Everyone has the right to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.

Contact us.

The Ann Craft Trust continue to work remotely throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Please contact us if you need advice or have any concerns.