Domestic Violence During Lockdown
For many people, their home is their safe place. But for victims of domestic violence, it can be more like a prison. Traditionally, it’s times when families spend the most time together, such as Christmas or other holidays, where cases of domestic abuse increase. This is the harrowing reality that many people across the globe are having to deal with right now.
Just last week, the Attorney-General for NSW reported that Google searches in the state for domestic violence have surged by 75% since the Coronavirus lockdown began. Despite these figures, the number of calls into helplines for domestic abuse has plummeted. Worryingly, many believe this is because the victims of domestic abuse are unable to get access to these services safely. Minister Simone McGurk has also publicly expressed her concerns about the elevated rates of domestic abuse during the pandemic. It’s expected that social isolation, along with the instability of the economy, is going to give perpetrators of domestic abuse a great opportunity to exercise power and control; and to be violent.
The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres just this week has also called for urgent action from Governments across the globe to help put women’s safety first during the Coronavirus crises. In the U.K., calls to domestic abuse helplines have increased by a minimum of 25% since the lockdown came into force. In some parts of the U.S., domestic violence helplines are reporting their figures from people seeking help have double over a period of just a week.
COVID-19 IS FUELLING DOMESTIC ABUSE
The World Health Organization believes that 1/3 women experience sexual or physical violence, in most cases, by an intimate partner. So, that’s the global perspective; which makes domestic violence the most widespread, but least reported abuses of human rights.
According to the latest government advice, there are tight restrictions on movements in many countries, including Australia. The only permitted trips out of the house are for those which involve shopping for essential goods, traveling to work or education, exercising, or receiving medical care.
While these restrictions are designed to ‘flatten the curve,’ and stop the spread of COVID-19; these measures are contributing to a rise in domestic abuse. Many are already claiming governments have failed to prepare for the opportunities that the lockdown has created for abusers to terrorize their victims. This lack of foresight is resulting in delays, and these delays could have already resulted in irreparable damage for victims or their abusers. The Australian Government is investing $1billion in funding to health and family violence services as COVID-19 spreads. Specifically, there will be $150m that is earmarked for the National Domestic Violence Initiative.
But where is the money being spent?
How are those funds impacting those on the front line, in the here and the now?
Where can the victims of domestic violence go to help today?
Contact us today and get access to real support from people who know what you're going through.
Where Can you Go as a Victim of Domestic Abuse during Lockdown?
It is believed that many victims are currently unable to call into helplines because they are home with their abuser 24/7. Furthermore, they feel there is no place for them to go or to get help. For those with children, they may feel it’s easier to try and stay at home until the lockdown is over.
There is help, and regardless of the Coronavirus pandemic or the lockdown rules that are in place, victims of domestic violence do not have to suffer in silence. Escaping the hold of a Domestic Abuser is unexplainably difficult, and unless you’ve been in the position yourself, it’s hard to truly understand the emotional rollercoaster of panic, anxiety, and fear that a person goes through.
It’s important for women to know there are places available in shelters, and there is support on hand for those who urgently need it.
If you or someone you know is impacted by family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
The 1800RESPECT phoneline operates 24/7 and is for any Australian who has experienced or is at risk of, family and domestic abuse or sexual assault. Women from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are experiencing family or domestic violence can contact inTouch, the Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence on 1800 755 988, or visit intouch.org.au.
White Ribbon Australia also has a comprehensive online directory for Domestic Violence helplines.
If you don’t know where to turn, who to turn to, or what your rights would be, there are people here to help you. Everything is discreet and designed to help you get the support and guidance you need in order to be able to move forward with things, and only ever at a pace you’re comfortable with.
More than ever before, we all need to look out for our vulnerable friends, neighbours, and family members. We need to be extra vigilant of the things that could be going on behind closed doors, and the potential cases of domestic abuse that may be happening in the communities in which we live. The Coronavirus pandemic is a worrying time for us all. But, for those people who are trapped at home with an abuser, it’s important to know that there are people and projects in place to get you the immediate guidance and support you need for yourself and for your family.
You cannot control the actions of others, but you can control your response to their abuse.