Refuge responds to COVID-19

 

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of National Domestic Abuse charity Refuge said:

‘1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse last year, and self-isolation has the potential to aggravate pre-existing abusive behaviours by perpetrators.

‘While in lockdown or self-isolation, women and children are likely to be spending concentrated periods of time with perpetrators, potentially escalating the threat of domestic abuse and further restricting their freedom.

‘Domestic abuse isn’t always physical – it’s a pattern of controlling, threatening and coercive behaviour, which can also be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual. Abuse is a choice a perpetrator makes, and isolation is already used by many perpetrators as a tool of control.

‘In the current climate, it is certainly more challenging for women suffering abuse. Lines of communication could be severely limited if women are unable to leave the home.

‘Refuge wants to reassure those experiencing abuse that they are not alone. Our services remain open and we have contingency plans in place for all of our services, including refuges, community-based services and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge.

‘The Freephone Helpline is operating 24/7, with confidential, non-judgmental support available from our team of trained female advisers. While it might not be safe for a woman to call the Helpline with the perpetrator still in the home, the Helpline also has an online contact form, with additional support resources available for survivors, friends and family. Women can request a safe time to be called.

‘Women’s lives depend on being able to keep our services running and we are doing everything we can to keep them open.

If you are worried about a loved one, or about isolating with a perpetrator, please call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or contact the Helpline via Refuge’s contact form at www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk. To ensure your safety you can let us know how to contact you and what time to contact you. In an emergency, always be ready to call 999 if you are in danger.

For more information, please email press@refuge.org.uk or call 0207 395 7731.