At home shouldn’t mean at risk, but sadly for many victims of domestic abuse the lockdown has meant that they are trapped in isolation with their abuser under a pressurised situation. Since the UK-wide COVID-19 lockdown began on 23 March, there has been a 49% increase in calls and online requests for help relating to domestic abuse.

 

The government’s #YouAreNotAlone domestic abuse campaign reassures victims of domestic abuse that there is still help for them during the COVID-19 crisis, and that the household isolation instruction as a result of COVID-19 does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is a serious crime with two women a week being killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. However, anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. Although the most common type of domestic abuse is within a relationship, the legal definition of domestic abuse also covers “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.”

Lord of life and love,

in these stressful times

where frustration and confusion exist,

and powerlessness, fear and threats of violence can arise, 

Lord, give us your peace.

Fill our hearts with your love

and keep us safe in your presence.

Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

If you are in immediate danger:

  • Call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.

  • If you call 999 from a mobile and cannot speak, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard and this will transfer your call to the police. Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.

  • National Domestic Violence Helpline - 0808 2000 247 or www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk.

Boots pharmacies offer access to a safe place

Victims of domestic abuse will be able to access safe places at Boots pharmacies.

Those needing help can ask staff at the counter to use the consultation room, where they will be able to contact services for help and advice.

 

The scheme is in response to the desperate situation facing many who are isolating with perpetrators during lockdown.

The Catholic Church's response to domestic abuse

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference website provides guidance on how parishes can raise awareness of the issue, including a list of helplines and information about how to safely get help. It also contains a step-by-step starter guide for how parishes can work to support their local domestic abuse services with donations.

Bishop John Sherrington, who chairs the Domestic Abuse Group, said:

‘Every person has a right to live their life free from violence, abuse, intimidation and fear. Catholic parishes can play an important role in the fighting the scourge of domestic abuse, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where we are seeing some shocking statistics from leading domestic abuse organisations. My thanks go to those organisations and individuals already working so hard to ensure that people suffering domestic abuse can live safe lives. Every local situation will differ and so our new guidance is designed to be used as an introduction to start a local project. I hope that Catholics and parishes will be inspired to take this up in their local area. Violence of this kind should never be tolerated or justified. It is an offence against the dignity of the human person.’

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