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Blog: Increased Violence during the Pandemic

Blog written by Lisa Wisher, Social Worker, Psychotherapist and Trainer in mental health, domestic violence and therapeutic approaches including, Emotion Coaching, Non-Violent Resistance, Neuro-Physiological Psychotherapy and Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy

Domestic violence, or domestic violence and abuse (DVA) which it is often called, is a global issue. The onset of Covid-19 has resulted in many countries reporting a sharp rise in cases. The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, reported a 700% increase during April in calls to its helpline in a single day.

DVA is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse; emotional, physical, sexual, and financial.  It also includes forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and so-called honour-based violence.  Whilst anyone can be a victim it is globally recognised that this is an issue which disproportionately impacts on women. 

As the world went into lockdown many domestic abuse charities predicted that this would put victims at increased risk. Victims were effectively being locked up with their perpetrator of abuse 24/7. Covid-19 does not cause domestic abuse, only abusers are responsible for their actions. However, the pandemic has escalated abuse, given perpetrators more control and closed routes to safety for women to escape.

Domestic violence and abuse is a serious safeguarding children issue. Living in a home where domestic abuse happens can have a serious impact on a child or young person’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as their behaviour. And this can last into adulthood. Evidence tells us that over 90% of children are in the same room or overhearing the abuse happening. Two women are murdered every week by a current or former partner. 

Women’s Aid research found that half of the survivors interviewed for their Covid-19 research reported that their children had witnessed more abuse towards them, and over one third said their abuser had shown an increase in abusive behaviour directed towards their children. (Women’s Aid April Survivor Survey, A Perfect Storm: The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Domestic Abuse Survivors and the Services Supporting Them)

To help raise awareness of DVA we are launching a new two part course to help people who work with children to understand what domestic violence is, who perpetrates abuse, how to identify when it may be happening and what to do next.

Alliance for Learning
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Altrincham WA14 2NL
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