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Domestic abuse and COVID-19

We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone – but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse, and the professionals working hard to support them. On this page we will be sharing resources to help support you through this time, and will be adding more as things progress. As always, if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police.

For people experiencing domestic abuse

It's important to know that you are not alone. Even if you are unable to leave your home at the moment, you can still access support through one of the helplines.

Read our guide for staying safe during COVID-19 for victims and survivors.

Surviving Economic Abuse have produced guidance on economic abuse while self-isolating, as well as practical issues including benefits and sick pay. The guidance is updated regularly as the situation changes.

Online support

Support is available from Women's Aid's online chat service, open from 10am-12pm Monday-Friday.

Chayn provides online tools, information, courses and support for people experiencing abuse, all free to access. Their Soul Medicine courses provide bitesized support, delivered in disguised emails at a time that you choose. They are also launching a secure Telegram channel to provide particular support during this time. 

If you need to secure your devices or clear your browsing history after accessing support, take a look at Chayn's DIY online safety guide.

Making your voice heard

We want to ensure that your voice is being heard by us, policymakers and the wider world. If you can spare a couple of minutes, please complete this very short survey to tell the Government what people experiencing abuse need. Your response will be completely anonymous.

Resources for parents and children

Domestic abuse impacts the whole family, particularly when schools are closed and children are at home. West Sussex Connect service have kindly provided this Parent Pack, full of useful ideas for activities to do with children, links to educational resources, and helpful advice for helping children to talk about their worries. 

Rights of Women have produced guidance on COVID-19 and child contact arrangements.

Feeling connected and looking after your wellbeing

To read uplifting and empowering words from other survivors, sign up to Voices Together – our newsletter written by and for survivors of domestic abuse.

Podcast: Rachel Williams, survivor and SafeLives Pioneer, talks to Jo Silver about how survivors may be feeling at the moment, and shares tips and advice to let you know you're not alone.

For professionals

If you're a domestic abuse professional, part of a Marac or work around domestic abuse in any other capacity, please join the free SafeLives Community. Here you can connect with other professionals and access the latest guidance from SafeLives. We will keep adding new COVID-19 guidance to the Community as things continue to change.

View guidance for multi-agency forums (including Maracs) on responding to the challenges of COVID-19.

Complete our practitioner survey if you manage a frontline service. Your reflections on the current pressure on the domestic abuse sector due to COVID-19 will help us provide evidence to Government and make the case for dedicated support packages.

Podcast: Jo Silver speaks to DCC Louisa Rolfe of West Midlands Police, about how the Police are responding to domestic abuse in the current situation

For policymakers

Please read our latest briefing for MPs setting out the key issues faced by people experiencing abuse at this time, and what must be done to support them.

VAWG sector joint statement on COVID-19.

Further reading

Research and briefings:

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Violence against Women and Girls
An Exploratory Investigation: Post-disaster Predictors of Intimate Partner Violence 
Briefing: Covid-19 – Gender and other Equality Issues

Articles:

The Conversation - Coronavirus lockdown is a dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse (19th March 2020)
Time - As cities go on lockdown, victims look for a way out (18th March 2020)
Sixth Tone - Domestic violence cases surge during COVID-19 (2nd March 2020)
Prospect - Experts say coronavirus could increase domestic violence (16th March 2020)
BBC - Five ways virus upheaval is hitting women in Asia (8th March 2020)
Refinery 29 (USA) - How coronavirus quarantining could lead to an increase in domestic violence (20th March 2020)
Screen shot (Italy) - Preventative measures against COVID-19 in Italy show how hard quarantine can get (22nd March 2020)
The National Scot (Scotland) - We need new ways to protect women from violence during pandemic (22nd March 2020)