Women’s Aid launches ‘the lockdown’ campaign to highlight current risk of domestic violence

Olivia Petter
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Women’s Aid has launched a new campaign to highlight increasing rates of domestic violence across the UK amid the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

News of the charity’s campaign, which is called “The Lockdown”, comes one day after it was revealed that phone calls to the National Domestic Violence helpline had risen by 25 per cent since the lockdown has been in place.

In a statement announcing the campaign, Women’s Aid explained why it’s more important now than ever before to raise awareness of domestic abuse.

“During this period, domestic abusers and their partners are self-isolating together at home, and there are real concerns that households living together in close proximity for extended periods may see an increase in abusive incidents,” it said.

While a pandemic will not cause domestic homicides, the charity added, the lockdown could escalate abusive behaviour and limit routes for women and children to safely escape violent households.

Women’s Aid added that it has already seen a 41 per cent increase in users visiting its Live Chat site since the lockdown was imposed.

As part of the campaign, Women’s Aid has released a short film in collaboration with marketing company ENGINE.

The film offers viewers an insight into the deserted streets of London, driving home the point that household-isolation can leave domestic violence victims with nowhere safe to go.

The video encourages those in violent households to utilise online resources where possible, and encouraged viewers to donate via its website to help fund the operation of such resources.

Nicki Norman, acting chief executive at Women’s Aid, said: “We are grateful to ENGINE for producing this powerful campaign and we hope it makes people realise that while home may be the safest place to protect ourselves from the virus, it is certainly not a safe place for women and children who are indefinitely trapped with a perpetrator of abuse.

COVID-19 household-isolation is having a direct impact on survivors with abuse already escalating and we have seen this reflected in demand for our digital services. Accessing support online can be a safer option for survivors unable leave the household as it can be done discreetly, quietly and in private. The restrictions of the pandemic have shut down many physical routes to safety and support.”

The campaign follows an open letter written to Boris Johnson by specialist organisations working to end violence against women.

The letter calls for an “urgent strategy” to protect women and girls and prevent abuse during the pandemic. It can be read in full here.

Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

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