An important word on domestic violence and COVID-19

Shola Yemi - Safeguarding Lead for Adults and Children at Babylon

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up many unique challenges for domestic violence sufferers, such as intensified insolation, additional barriers to accessing support or urgent resources and the need to stay safe in quite often very restricted homes and apartments.

Many patients registered with us at Babylon will know only too well the distress they have been going through with being isolated in the confines of their homes during the extended lockdown and home isolation whilst living with an abusive partner.

In June, The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) held its first Week of Action to increase awareness of these challenges, and to ensure that responses to domestic violence, from the local to the federal level, centre on survivors.

Amid the pandemic, many of the national domestic violence helplines such as Centrepoint, were bombarded with calls for urgent help from women (and some men) who were going through what they can only call personal hell.

The Government has also seen the need to offer assistance and information for sufferers, through providing new guidance. With the police also seeing a sharp increase in calls for help, they too have provided help and guidance to ensure those who feel they do not have a voice are able to contact them when they need to.

Women’s aid is a charity at the forefront of providing support and advice to those at risk and suffering from domestic violence. Refuge is a resource and helpful charity which has been around for a while, helping and assisting many people through the challenges of leaving, what some women will feel, is their only home.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline was inundated with an upsurge of calls to their helpline from people who have been subjected to all kinds of violence and more so because they have been unable to walk away, having to stay in their home, taking whatever punishment has been doled out to them at the hands of their perpetrator.

Even with lockdown slowly easing and with people being allowed out of their homes, this still doesn’t bode well for many, who feel like they are still prisoners in their own homes.

We at Babylon want those suffering from domestic violence, and everyone advocating for them, to know how extremely strong and resourceful they are. Policies that are supposed to help them should always transfer power back to survivors, allowing them to reclaim that power, and make real life decisions that are best for them.

Survivors of domestic violence are facing even greater uncertainty and vulnerability at this time, but even after the COVID-19 pandemic has moved us all to a new normal, many survivors will still be in the same painful position. We are here to help in ensuring access to lifesaving services and increasing public awareness about the unique challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence in this time.

It is common knowledge that survivors of violence from underserved and marginalized communities have been left particularly vulnerable and the multiple barriers they face have gotten harder to get over and deal with because of the pandemic.

If you require further support, guidance or a discussion with a GP or Lead Nurse, please feel free to contact us at Babylon and we will do our best to help you and sign post you to other support services.

For more information and links on where to find help, visit Babylon’s Domestic Violence page.