As the UK and Welsh Government recommends that people practice social distancing and self-isolation, we know that this will significantly affect women and children experiencing violence and abuse. Unfortunately, home and isolation is not a refuge for many women and children across the country who live with the impact of abuse. For those individuals this will be a particularly daunting and frightening time. We want to reassure survivors that help is available during these challenging times- you are not alone.
We are aware that many factors of isolation including breaks from normal working routines and financial uncertainty could contribute to increased control, violence and other forms of abuse. Being forced to isolate with someone who is abusive could also limit and prohibit the opportunities for survivors living with abuse to leave their perpetrator. For some survivors, barrier will be exacerbated by multiple discrimination, such as women with insecure immigration status who have limited access to healthcare or financial resources, or, disabled survivors who may be at greater risk of infection.
These uncertain times can also be traumatic for those who have previously survived abuse. Distancing and isolation can trigger flashbacks and painful memories which can be detrimental to well-being in an already stressful time. We acknowledge that this week’s decision taken by the Lord Chief Justice to put a hold on jury trails lasting longer than 3 days as a result of coronavirus, for survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse waiting to go to court this could be upsetting and retraumatising.
It is important to stress that Welsh Women’s Aid stands in solidarity with survivors, wanting to ensure support remains there for all women and children when they need it. We stand in solidarity with specialist services striving to continue their lifesaving and life-changing support during these challenging times. We are immensely proud and grateful to the specialist support workers across Wales who are taking significant measures to keep services open to survivors, maintaining refuge provision and facilitating online therapy and support sessions.
The Live Fear Free helpline is available 24/7 and provides confidential help and advice to anyone experiencing violence or abuse, anyone who knows someone who needs help (for instance a friend, family member or colleague), any practitioners who are seeking professional advice. The helpline is run by a skilled team who are able to communicate in both English and Welsh.
Call: 080880 10 800
Email: [email protected]
Please find more information about supporting family and friends who are experiencing abuse by clicking here.
During this time, your health and wellness are very important. Please follow Welsh Government’s advice on coronavirus here: gov.wales/coronavirus