Up and down the UK, people are staying within the safety of their own homes to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But for people experiencing domestic abuse, home is often not a safe haven, but a high risk, unsafe environment.
Donna is one of Glow’s refuge managers: “For anyone experiencing abuse in the home, this is an extremely vulnerable time for their emotional, mental and physical safety. The added strain of financial pressures, job uncertainty, lack of household resources, increased childcare responsibilities and social isolation will heighten already high-risk circumstances.”
It comes as West Midlands Police revealed this week that they had arrested 400 domestic abuse suspects in the last two weeks during the lockdown.
Donna explains: “Domestic abuse is known to happen mostly behind closed doors and at present, that’s were most people are now.”
For many, the small window of relief they might have got while they or their abusers were working or socialising has now gone: “Being in a constant confined space means they may be more closely monitored and controlled by perpetrators.”
“This includes more control over finances, restricting access to household items under the guise of ‘rationing’ and controlling their movements, such as where they can go and for how long.
“People may be concerned about going to the doctors or A&E if the abuse results in an injury because they are worried about getting the virus, meaning they don’t get the medical attention they need.
“This all puts survivors and their families in an extremely vulnerable position, more exposure to abuse with less access to their support networks to help them to cope.”
At Glow, we’re still here providing support to over 450 customers who have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse, as well as those who were responsible for abuse.
Our three refuges are still open helping people recover and live a life free from abuse, our usual group meetings with survivors in recovery are now taking place online and over the phone and we’re working hard to maintain contact with families at risk of, or experiencing abuse in their own home to make sure they’re as safe as possible during this time.
But with hundreds of families in Staffordshire alone trapped in their homes with their abusers, properly funded support for victims of domestic abuse is more important than ever before.
We urgently need to raise funds to keep our vital services running. You can help us save lives. Visit our Emergency COVID-19 Appeal Justgiving page today to donate.