Many women are complaining about boredom or home schooling children during isolation. But there are also many women and children living in fear being in isolation with abusive partners. There are large scale efforts to protect the vulnerable during the virus outbreak. The measures taken actually puts one vulnerable group at more risk. Women and children who live with domestic violence have no escape from their abusers. Countries in isolation are already seeing an alarming and growing rise in abuse.
Where the Corona virus started in China, activists have revealed a three fold increase in reports to police of domestic violence. In Valencia, Spain, there has already been a case where of a woman was murdered in front of her children. Her husband has been arrested. In Spain, where isolation rules are very strict and many people are being fined for breaking them – the government has said that women will not be fined if they leave home to report abuse. Women in isolation with abusive partners can be a nightmare for them.
“The epidemic has had a huge impact on domestic violence,” Wan Fei, a retired police officer who founded a charity campaigning against abuse, told Sixth Tone website. “According to our statistics, 90% of the causes of violence [in this period] are related to the Covid-19 epidemic.”
Womens Aid state ‘We know that COVID-19 will have serious impacts on the lives of women and children. Survivors are telling us that they are feeling unsafe with the prospect of being isolated in the house with their abuser. We want to reassure survivors and local specialist services that we are here for you. In addition will be doing everything we can to support you during this challenging time.
Try and keep a mobile phone with you at all times if possible. The police are a key service when in immediate danger. Do not be afraid to call 999 in an emergency.’
The Silent Solution System
For any women worried for their safety, please report your abuser if possible. Be aware of The Silent Solution system. This is a system for victims of domestic abuse who might be afraid of further danger to themselves or others if overheard on the phone.
When somebody calls 999, an operator will ask which emergency service is required. If the caller is unable to speak, the call will be forwarded to an operating system.
If 55 is pressed by the caller, the system will detect this. The operator will then transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency.
Consequently, National helplines, email, text and live chat support services, and local services, are currently open for business as usual. There will certainly be a few changes to services over the coming weeks.
Read how some women do things alone here
Help and support
Do you know a women living in isolation with an abusive partner?
- The Freephone, 24 hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247, run by Refuge or nationaldahelpline.org.uk/Contact-us
- Rape Crisis services – rapecrisis.org.uk/get-help/want-to-talk/
- National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
- Men’s Advice Line – a confidential helpline, email and webchat service for male victims of domestic abuse: 0808 801 0327 or mensadviceline.org.uk.
- Rights of Women advice lines: rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-advice/advice-lines/
- Women’s Aid – including Live Chat, email, the Survivors Forum and local services: womensaid.org.uk/information-support/
The 24 hr Domestic and Sexual Abuse helpline is open to women and men affected by domestic abuse or violence. This free telephone service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year:
- Phone: 0808 802 1414 (Freephone) · Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Local services: womensaidni.org/get-help/local-groups/
- Scotland’s 24 hr Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234 or sdafmh.org.uk/
- Rape Crisis Scotland: National Helpline on 08088 01 03 02 (6pm to midnight, 7 days a week) or rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/
- Further support and local services: mygov.scot/domestic-abuse/support-for-female-victims/
The Live Fear Free helpline provides advice and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to anyone affected by violence against women, domestic abuse or sexual violence in Wales. You can contact the Live Fear Free Helpline on:
- Telephone: 0808 80 10 800 · Live Chat Service: wales/live-fear-free
- Text: 078600 77 333
- Email: email@example.com
- Local services: welshwomensaid.org.uk/information-and-support/find-your-local-service/