Our ‘Spotlight On’ features both the Herts and Cambs Domestic Abuse Services. Lockdown causes extra stress and a knock-on effect is the increased incidence of domestic abuse. If you need their services or are worried about a friend or neighbour, please, please access the support available. You are able to leave your home to escape abuse at any time.
Coronavirus has impacted us all. The Government’s stay at home advice has meant that we have all had to seek safety within our own homes. But what if those four walls weren’t safe for us in the first place?
For many victims and survivors of domestic abuse, the current crisis has only heightened their risk, and unfortunately the statistics reflect this.
According to a recent Guardian article, in Hubei province, the source of the initial Coronavirus outbreak, domestic abuse reports to police more than tripled in one county alone during the lockdown in February, from 47 last year to 162 this year. Globally, this a story that has been repeated – from China to Italy and Germany and here in the United Kingdom.
After an initial drop in call numbers, Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen call numbers rise by 13 per cent in the last month. The website has seen a 33 per cent increase in visits over the same period. In addition, the Helpline’s confidential and anonymous email service has in the last two weeks, received more emails than in January and February combined.
So what does this mean for a charity such as ours – a Freephone, confidential listening and signposting service for those impacted by domestic abuse? It means that we continue to keep our lines open, so that we are here whenever someone can make that all important call. It means being contactable by email, at email@example.com, if someone cannot talk openly. It also means working with our partners across the county so that we can signpost our callers in the right direction for ongoing local support.
At some point, the government restrictions will relax, we will slowly and eventually return to ‘normal.’ As a society, coronavirus has lifted the lid on what was happening behind closed doors and forced us to see what was ‘normal’ for so many victims and survivors. We hope a future ‘return to normal’ includes a continued commitment to domestic abuse frontline services.
When it happens, we will be here, as we were before, and as we are now.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or you are worried about someone, we’re here to listen and point you in the right direction for ongoing local support.
As always, if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. If it is not safe to speak, use the Silent Solution and press 55 during the call. Stay Safe.
Call us at the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088,
Monday to Friday: 9am–9pm
If you are finding it hard to find a safe time to talk, visit our website
for more information, or email Kim@mailpurple.org
Domestic Abuse is often an isolating situation for victims and, in the current lockdown circumstances, opportunities to seek help and support can be more limited.
The Government guidelines on leaving home are clear that victims of domestic abuse can leave home to escape abuse at any time. National and local support services are still operating and refuges are still open for victims needing to flee.
Our website has a directory of services as well as information for friends and family who may be concerned about a loved one.
Outreach support is still being offered by telephone in Cambridgeshire.
For more information on the Cambs Domestic Abuse Service visit www.cambsdasv.org.uk
For more information on Cambridge Women’s Aid visit
www.cambridgewa.org.uk or call 01223 361214