Not a pleasant topic to discuss but the reality is that the self-isolation rules set out by the Government, to tackle the Coronavirus outbreak, will likely increase the amount of domestic violence cases in the UK.
It can mean that victims are now having to spend even more time with their abuser and are at even greater risk of violence and the equally abusive coercive control.
The rise in cases will likely be caused by:
- The stress of the situation on families
- Tensions running high due to being isolated together under one roof
- Financial worries
- Worrying about family members and friends
Not only this, but due to the self-isolation, the symptoms of domestic abuse will be difficult to spot and it will be more difficult to receive support or ask for help.
The symptoms to look out for from domestic violence victims are:
- They feel guilty speaking to you or they make it clear that their partner isn’t happy they are speaking to you
- The partner makes no effort with the victims friends or family
- They tell you their partner has been looking through their phone and/or computer
- They cheat on the person you know or accuse them of cheating
- They become a lot more critical of themselves
- They give up their own opinions and think their partner is right about everything
- They feel more nervous, stressed or worried all the time
How can I help?
The chances are high that you may know a victim of domestic abuse. No one knows what happens behind closed doors.
You can help by:
- Listening, try to understand and take care not to blame.
- Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse
- Give them time to talk, but don’t push them to go into too much detail if they do not want to
- Acknowledge that they are in a frightening and very difficult situation
- Encourage them to express their feelings, whatever they are. Allow them to make their own decisions
- Don’t tell them to leave their relationship if they are not ready. This is their decision
- Offer to go with them to a hospital or to see her GP
- Help them to report the assault to the police if they choose to do so
- Research charities and organisations that can help
- Help them to contact a Solicitor specialising in Domestic Abuse if they are ready to take this step – currently telephone appointments are availble
- Offer the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages
- Look after an ‘emergency bag’ for them with items they may need in a hurry
- Ensure that you do not put yourself into a dangerous situation
Can a victim of domestic abuse leave the house during Coronavirus?
On Sunday the 29th of March the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that the current ‘stay at home’ rules that are in place to contain the Coronavirus, can be temporarily broken for victims of domestic abuse to seek support, meaning victims don’t have to be locked indoors with their abusers.
Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
There are lots of different reasons why people stay in abusive relationships.
- They might feel frightened to leave, as they worry that the person abusing them will try and stop them, and become even more violent.
- They might rely on the person abusing for practical or financial support
- They may worry about losing their home and access to their children.
- They may enjoy the good times they have with them and keep hoping it won’t happen again.
Never forget that it is a crime for someone you know to abuse you in your own home or anywhere else — whether they are your partner, a family member or someone you share your home with. Whatever the person abusing you might say, physical and emotional violence like this is never ok.
You can contact Howells for a free consultation and seek advice from me and my team. We can help victims of domestic violence and discuss the legal aid options available.
There are plenty of charities available to support and apps available to seek for help. Below are some examples:
The Police have also released some guidance on how to seek help from emergency services if you are unable to speak:
You can contact me and my team by email to make an appointment at [email protected], visit our website or call us:
Sheffield: 0114 249 66 66
Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90
Rotherham: 0170 936 40 00
If you would like to keep up to date with the news from Howells Solicitors, receive exclusive offers and free legal advice, sign up to our mailing list here