- Many countries across the world reporting a surge in domestic abuse and homicide incidences during lockdown
- Latest figures for the UK show there have been 33 domestic homicides committed towards women and children during lockdown
- Refuge Charity received over 40K of calls in first 3 months of lockdown – up by 80%
- 35% rise in calls to Men’s Advice Line
- An increase in calls to LGBTQ Charity Galop Domestic Abuse Helpline
- Met police making 100 domestic abuse arrests per day (MP’s Report)
The Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown strategy has brought to the forefront of our awareness what was the ‘hidden’ issue of domestic abuse not only in the UK but as a global, humanitarian issue we can no longer ignore, pretend it doesn’t happen, or believe it only happens to a certain demographic of society. The comments, ‘it’s not our business’ or ‘don’t get involved’ are attitudes that need to be firmly relegated to the past now.
As soon as we learned we all had to go into lockdown, those of us who understood the nature of domestic abuse felt real fear for those individuals and families living with perpetrators. As I have written in a previous blog there are certain events and times of the year that are trigger points for the escalation of domestic abuse and violence. This pandemic and lockdown strategy is one of them, heightening abusive behaviours and providing the opportunity for perpetrators to use excessive coercive control tactics, making it harder for victims to leave the home or reach out for help. Further concerns were raised during this time as it was revealed that only 5% of children identified as being vulnerable were going to school, many of these children living are living at home with domestic abuse/violence.
The full horror of hearing about the women and children who are being murdered by their partner, lover, husband, father and are continuing to be reported on an almost daily basis on the news or in the newspapers demands that it is our business and we do need to get involved. Domestic abuse is humanity’s problem and we owe it to those women and children who have been murdered to fully address this problem, to bring this previously hidden crime to the light and deal with it once and for all. By not doing so, children are being hurt, women are being hurt, humanity is being hurt. The only person domestic abuse benefits is the perpetrator who carries it out, they have had their selfish thirst for power and control quenched and are likely to get away with it or get off lightly, a rap on the knuckles and don’t do it again. Sadly, many perpetrators do.
For those women and children who have managed to escape with their lives, they are often left to carry the can, they are judged negatively and are damned if they don’t leave and damned if they do – having to make a choice between living with abuse, violence and risk of death or homelessness with or without their children. Children suffer through never even having or losing their sense of safety and security in the world. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs surely should be every child’s automatic right. They are often being terrorised in their own home or constantly uprooted and having to live their childhood on the run, from refuge to refuge, particularly if they are being constantly stalked by the perpetrator once they have left. Why is this? Because often the perpetrator is being left unchallenged. The focus is on the victim, why did you do this or did not do that? By not doing this or doing that, you have failed to protect your child. Meanwhile the perpetrator is invisible and free to find another victim to abuse. Perpetrators are selfish bullies and ultimately cowards, who at all costs feel the need to gain and keep power and control over another to secure their perceived sense of safety and security in the world and are capable of making their own children and partner suffer rather than themselves. I have always believed it should be the perpetrators who are made to leave the family home, rather than the partner or children, hopefully that day will come.
National domestic abuse organisations have adapted incredibly quickly to move their services on-line and find different ways to support these individuals and families but of course, this has been made very difficult through staff furloughing, staff illness, and not being able to access the individuals at risk due to self-isolation, social distancing or non-communication from the victims themselves. Safe Lives Jessica Asato speaking at the Canning House Webinar on 3rd June 2020, said because of this there is expected to be a surge of calls to domestic abuse charities once lockdown has further eased and this is when we will realise the full extent of the damage caused by domestic abuse during lockdown.
For further info look out for my next blog: What is being done to support victims of domestic abuse?
For further information please go to www.safespaceconsultancy.org