When lockdown began in March, many of us felt isolated from our loved ones. The restrictions in place as well as the anxiety about COVID-19 had an impact on all of us. What if, however, home was not a safe place? What did this mean for those experiencing domestic abuse?
The realities of domestic abuse
Every year over 2 million adults suffer some form of domestic abuse. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and, shamefully, two women a week are killed by a current or ex-partner in England and Wales. Lockdown means that those experiencing domestic abuse are forced to spend more time with their partners, in an environment that is already restrictive, oppressive, violent and controlling – coercive control being the biggest pre-indicator of murder by a current or former partner. Many people are unable to benefit from a support network or access professional help. For those at the highest risk of serious harm and murder, they are not able to escape.
The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% rise in calls as lockdown measures are introduced. Karen Ingala Smith, who set up the counting dead women project, identified that domestic murders more than doubled in the first 3 weeks of lockdown when compare to the previous year.
Eastleigh Community Safety Partnership (ESCP) has identified in their 2020 strategic review that there has been 1387 domestic abuse related crimes reported in Eastleigh between July 1st 2019 and 30th June 2020. However, we know that only 1 in 5 victims of domestic abuse call the police. Despite domestic abuse accounting for 14% of all crime reported to Hampshire Constabulary, domestic abuse is yet to be identified as a strategic priority by the ESCP.
What is White Ribbon Day?
The 25th November marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day. The first White Ribbon Campaign was launched in Canada by a group of men after the brutal mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal. The first White Ribbon Day in the UK was launched in 1998 and has grown stronger every year.
White Ribbon Campaign UK is part of a worldwide movement, led by men, who know that there is never an excuse for violence against women and pledge to never condone it or stand by when they know it is happening. This year, more than ever, has highlighted that domestic violence affects everyone – we all need to make a stand to make a difference. SafeLives, a national Charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, have produced a range for resources as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, with advice and guidance for survivors as well as their friends and family. Earlier this year SafeLives launched their #ReachIn campaign recognising how hard it was for survivors to access support. It asks people to consider reaching in to anyone who they are concerned about to give them the opportunity to access help.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.
Silent calls to the police: will work if you are not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted.
Emergency Text Service: If you cannot use a voice phone, you can register with the police text service – text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger. Click here to find out more.
If you are not in immediate danger, please call one of the following local helplines:
Aurora New Dawn’s Domestic Abuse Covid Response Helpline open 24/7:
Stop Domestic Abuse Advice line for all parts of Hampshire is open for victims, perpetrators and their friends/family and professionals. Open 9.30 until 8pm Monday to Friday:
0330 016 5112
Nationally you can contact
England: Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline:
0808 2000 247 (run by Refuge)
Women’s Aid live chat service (available Monday to Friday, 10am-12pm)
Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
Respect helpline: 0808 802 4040 (for anyone worried that they may be harming someone else)
Galop: 0800 999 5428 (national helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people experiencing domestic abuse)
Forced Marriage Unit: 0207 008 0151
Paladin – National Stalking Advocacy Service: 020 3866 4107
Citizens Advice National Helpline: 03444 111 444. You can also contact your local office by phone, email and some provide a web service. Check your local office website for the most up to date information on contact details.
If you suspect that an abuser is monitoring your internet usage, find out how to hide your browser history.