In the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a great deal of concern raised about the impact it would have on instances of domestic violence. According to the UN Population Fund, at least 15 million more cases of domestic violence are predicted around the world this year as a result of efforts to halt the spread of the virus.
Here in the UK, former Prime Minister Theresa May said the government must consider the impact of the lockdown on domestic abuse as it plans its exit strategy, while Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said help would be available for all such victims during the outbreak.
So, why has there been an increase in domestic abuse during lockdown? How is research helping to inform a public policy response? How can services best support victims in the current difficult circumstances?
To help me answer these questions, I was joined for this episode by Dr Emma Williamson.
Based within our School for Policy Studies, Emma is a Reader in Gender Based Violence and Head of the Centre for Gender and Violence Research. She’s also a co-editor of the Journal of Gender Based Violence.
The University was due to be celebrate 30 years of the Centre for Gender Violence Research this week. In that time it’s done some tremendous work that’s made a real difference to public policy in the UK and around the world. I look forward to celebrating the Centre’s achievements properly when lockdown restrictions have eventually lifted.
During the episode, Emma lists a series of resources and helplines (including online chat helplines) for victims, survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse.
- Women’s Aid Chat Service: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/
- Also guidance for survivors: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-resource-hub/
- The National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0800 2000 247
- Respect Helpline for those who want to change: 0808 8024040
- Men’s advice line for male victims: 0808 8010327
Local service to Bristol for victims-survivors:
- Next Link domestic abuse telephone help lines are open 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday: 0117 925 0680