A couple of months ago, during the Coronavirus lockdown, the Welsh Government launched a campaign to raise awareness about domestic abuse and offer support to domestic abuse victims.
Entitled, ‘Home shouldn’t be a place of fear’, the campaign’s main purpose is to ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse should know that they are not alone and that support is still available, despite the pandemic.
Instructions from governments around the world to isolate if anyone in a household has Coronavirus symptoms, together with local and national lockdowns, has meant that those who are suffering domestic abuse – or feel at risk of domestic abuse – have had to stay at home for prolonged periods of time with their abusers.
In April, domestic abuse charity, Refuge, reported a 700% increase in people phoning its helpline in a single day. The Home Secretary launched a public awareness campaign, with the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, designed to reassure victims of domestic abuse that support services were indeed still open.
While for many people, home is a safe haven to retreat to at the end of a long day (or during a pandemic), this isn’t always the case. Recognising this and offering help to those suffering from – or at risk of – domestic abuse has been vital during the pandemic, when the feeling of being alone without anyone to turn to has been amplified.
The ‘Home shouldn’t be a place of fear’ campaign, also asks everyone from the local shop assistant to the delivery driver to be ‘more vigilant’ during this time. Indeed, one of the campaign’s main goals is to, ‘encourage bystanders to recognise the signs of domestic abuse, and to seek support for those who are unable to get help themselves’.
An online e-learning course to help people recognise the signs of domestic abuse, has also been launched.
How can we help?
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline number – 0808 2000 247 – run by Refuge, is available 24 hours a day.
Neil Graham, a Partner at Grayfords says: “Violence and abusive behaviour should have no place in the home. There are many organisations that offer help and support and from whom information and help can be obtained safely and remotely during isolation. At Grayfords we also regularly advise individuals upon the possibility of and processes involved in obtaining Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders. We can offer initial consultations via telephone, Skype or Zoom, or initial contact can be made with us via e-mail or via our live chat facility at www.grayfords.co.uk”.
nationaldahelpline.org.uk or 0808 2000 247;
mensadviceline.org.uk or 0808 801 0327;
mankind.org.uk or 01823 334244;
galop.org.uk/domesticabuse/ or 0800 999 5428;
karmanirvana.org.uk or 0800 599 9247.