The rise in domestic abuse during lockdown has been well documented with the National Domestic Abuse helpline reporting 25% above average calls in the second week of lockdown and 49% higher than normal after three weeks. As we begin to come out of Lockdown, it is expected that the true figures will be higher than those already reported. More help will therefore be needed for survivors.
We at Home-Start Westminster consider, respect and value each person’s right to be safe from harm, unfortunately this isn’t always guaranteed and during the current Covid-19 pandemic, people may feel isolated, lonely or scared when in an abusive or coercive relationship.
Recent training with Westminster Council provided our volunteers with ways that they can support survivors of domestic abuse remotely and beyond Covid. Some key resources from the training are linked below, and please click on the button below for an overview of support services for survivors of domestic abuse available across the 3 boroughs we work in:
Additional support for survivors of domestic abuse:
- National Domestic Abuse helpline – 0808 2000 247
- Governmental guidance: Domestic abuse – how to get help
- Throughout Lockdown, The Angelou Partnership project has been offering services for anyone worried about domestic or sexual abuse at home. This poster has been displayed in pharmacies in Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, as part of a bigger movement to offer help for survivors:
- From the 1st May 2020, Boots pharmacy are offering a safe space in their consultation rooms for women who are experiencing domestic abuse. This is a nationwide initiative and they will be able to contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice, from these rooms. This initiative is as a direct response to the increase in domestic abuse since the COVID-19 lockdown.
- A hand signal has been developed that people suffering from domestic abuse can use via video call to ask for help. Watch this video to become familiar with the hand signal so you know how to ask for help or can recognise if someone is asking you to help them.
- Women’s Aid Rail to Refuge scheme means that survivors with a refuge space can travel for free across England, Scotland and Wales.
- Download the Bright Sky App: Bright Sky is a free multilingual app, disguised as a weather app, providing information and support for victims of domestic abuse or anyone who is looking for information about issues around domestic abuse. Download the app here: https://www.hestia.org/brightsky
- The below image gives a step by step guide of what to do if you need police support: