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.

During the current coronavirus ‘stay at home’ situation one of the concerns is that there will be an increase in reports of domestic abuse.

Home is not likely to be a safe place for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and they will be increasingly isolated from sources of support.

The window of opportunity for anyone with an abusive partner to make a call and seek help is often very limited and that window is now likely to even smaller. Research undertaken in China during the Wuhan lockdown revealed an increase of a third in reported domestic abuse incidents.

Anyone experiencing domestic abuse can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or contact local specialist services. Cambridge Women’s Aid offers support to those living in Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire. Visit the Cambridge Women's Aid website or call 01223 361 214. Refuge support those living in Huntingdonshire, Fenland and Peterborough. Visit the Refuge website or call 07787 255 821.

More information on these services and other support for those experiencing domestic abuse can be found on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership website.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s commitment to tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence has been recognised with White Ribbon accreditation. The mission of White Ribbon is to end male violence against women, once and for all by working with men and boys to challenge those male cultures that lead to harassment, abuse and violence.

Councillor Mark Goldsack, White Ribbon ambassador and lead member for community safety and domestic violence at Cambridgeshire County Council said, “As a White Ribbon ambassador, domestic abuse of all kinds is constantly in my mind. Under current rules for COVID-19, families will be under new and different pressures which could put vulnerable people in a heightened risk of domestic abuse.

“We want to make sure that despite the conditions our support services are available for those that may need them. Please stay safe and contact specialist support services or the police if you are suffering any form of domestic abuse, sexual violence or coercive behaviour.”

If you are worried about a friend, neighbour or friend please make sure they know where to access support and keep in telephone contact with them to make sure they are okay. In an emergency always contact the police on 999.  

SafeLives, the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, has some useful resources on domestic abuse and Covid-19 on its website, which is regularly updated.

This includes:

  • A guide for staying safe during Covid-19 for victims and survivors
  • Advice for people experiencing domestic abuse with links to helplines and online support
  • Resources for parents and children
  • Tips from survivors of domestic abuse to support wellbeing
  • Guidance for professionals

As always, if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police.