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Coronavirus and its impact on domestic abuse victims

09 April

Coronavirus and its impact on domestic abuse victims

This is an unprecedented and worrying time for us all in different ways.

Whilst some families and are keen to make the best of a bad situation, this is not feasible for individuals who may feel further ignored, trapped or in danger at home, due to domestic abuse.

The Family Department at Bell & Buxton aim to summarise and confirm the Home Secretary, Priti Patel’s most recent comments which have been issued by her in relation to victims of domestic abuse leaving their home during self-isolation. 

Domestic abuse can be displayed in different forms and people may find that they are experiencing behaviours and actions which they haven’t before or that pre-existing abuse is exacerbated due to the increased stress levels surrounding Coronavirus or time spent with the abuser at home. Domestic abuse is more than just physical violence, it can include coercive and controlling behaviour, financial abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting etc. 

Even though the UK is in a partial lockdown and strict self-isolating measures are in place, Priti Patel has confirmed that “Whilst Government advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse, is still able to leave the home and seek refuge”. 

It is acknowledged that these are incredibly challenging times and communication may be limited or hindered if victims are unable to leave their home. The Police at 999 are your first port of call in any emergency situation. Whilst the Police’s efforts are currently focused upon the Coronavirus, they are still responding to emergency calls and dealing with matters in the normal way. If you are in danger and you are able to call 999 but unable to speak then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak. 

If you feel like you need to speak to someone independent for some anonymity, support or guidance, then many helplines are operational, some even 24 hours a day including National Domestic Abuse Helpline, Women’s Aid, Men’s Advice Line, Galop - for members of the LGBT+ community etc. There are also apps which you can download including Hestia and Chayn which are resources available in different languages to help provide various information and resources. Anyone who is worried about someone that they may believe are experiencing abuse can also access these apps and obtain further guidance on how they can help. 

Refuge, the UK’s largest provider of shelters for domestic violence victims, have advised victims to keep their mobile phones with them and charged up and to try to avoid the kitchen, garage or places in other places in home which have items that could be used as weapons. 

The key message here is that domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation and for anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you at different levels. Guidance is also available to help perpetrators change their behaviour. All of this can be tackled in a safe and appropriate manner whilst mitigating the health and safety risks associated with Coronavirus. 

It is important to remember that we can still issue applications for Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders remotely, with or without notice, and the Court can hear these applications remotely as well! 

If you require help and support at this difficult time then please do not hesitate to contact either Demelza Wrigley on 0114 220 2186 or email d.wrigley@bellbuxton.co.uk or Bal Boughan on 0114 220 2168 or email b.boughan@bellbuxton.co.uk


Further advice and information can also be found at the following links:

https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

https://www.refuge.org.uk/covid19-survivor-tips/ 

https://mensadviceline.org.uk/ 

https://www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-safety-advice-for-survivors/