COVID-19 resources on Domestic Violence

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Coronavirus and domestic violence: practices for dealing with a double emergency

Qualitative Social Work

This short essay aims to reflect on an unexpected effect of the Coronavirus in Italy: the increase of domestic violence. Through some data and qualitative interviews gathered with social workers of anti-violence centres, the essay presents the ways in which this emergency has been faced during the Coronavirus outbreak and the importance of spreading and maintaining new practices in this area for the future.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2021

Covid-19, social distancing and the ‘scientisation’ of touch: exploring the changing social and emotional contexts of touch and their implications for social work

Qualitative Social Work

In this paper, we reflect on ‘scientific’ governmental and media responses to Covid-19 in the UK, illuminating their negative impacts on complex and emergent touch forms/practices and people’s related emotions. The scientisation of the pandemic led to the government initially placing the country in lockdown and enforcing social distancing. It thereby regulated and proscribed routine and normative touch practices in order to save lives. However, such strategies were not accompanied by an awareness that increased touch deprivation could be emotionally harmful, that lockdown could exacerbate abusive touch in the privatised familial domestic sphere, and that paid care-giver touch in other contexts, such as care homes for the elderly, could also be potentially lethal. These negative consequences are important for social workers to understand and appropriately respond to, as they disproportionately impact vulnerable and marginalised groups and are heightened for service users, who are frequently members of many disadvantaged groups simultaneously.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on disabled people

Welsh Government

The report focuses on areas where the impact of the coronavirus and the subsequent preventative measures may disproportionately affect the disabled population. The analysis presents the data that is available for Wales and sets the context within which wider England and Wales or UK evidence can be considered. The thematic areas covered include: background demographics; employment; self-employment; housing; relative income poverty; deprivation; transport; and domestic abuse.

Last updated on hub: 15 March 2021

“Shelter-in-place” isn’t shelter that’s safe: a rapid analysis of domestic violence case differences during the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders

Journal of Family Violence

This study explored the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on domestic violence (DV) with the following research questions: 1) Did DV occurring during the pandemic differ on certain variables from cases occurring on a typical day the previous year? 2) Did DV occurring after the implementation of shelter-in-place orders differ (on these same variables) from cases occurring prior to shelter-in-place orders? Two logistic regression models were developed to predict DV case differences before and during the pandemic. DV reports (N = 4618) were collected from the Chicago Police Department. Cases from March 2019 and March 2020 were analyzed based on multiple variables. One model was set to predict case differences since the pandemic began, and another model was set to predict case differences during the shelter-in-place period later that month. Both models were significant with multiple significant predictors. During the pandemic period, cases with arrests were 20% less likely to have occurred, and cases at residential locations were 22% more likely to have occurred. During the shelter-in-place period, cases at residential locations were 64% more likely to have occurred, and cases with child victims were 67% less likely to have occurred. This study offers a rapid analysis of DV case differences since the pandemic and shelter-in-place began. Additional variables and data sources could improve model explanatory power. Research, policy, and practice in this area must pivot to focus on protecting children whose access to mandated reporters has decreased and moving victims out of dangerous living situations into safe spaces.

Last updated on hub: 15 March 2021

The domestic abuse report 2021: the annual audit

Women's Aid

This report presents information on the provision and usage of domestic abuse services in England, mainly focusing on the financial year 2019-20. This year we have included an additional section on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the latest in our series of domestic abuse report publications, which offers a comprehensive evidence base on the national picture of domestic abuse support work year on year. Three of Women’s Aid’s data sources are used to provide a statistical analysis of the provision of domestic abuse services in 2019- 20, and the survivors they supported. These data sources are On Track, Routes to Support and the Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2020. Key findings include: Key findings: local service providers continue to support large numbers of women and children – in 2019-20 Women’s Aid estimates that refuge services in England supported 10,592 women and 12,710 children and community-based services supported 103,969 women and 124,762 children; only 73.5% (50 out of 68) of the respondents providing refuge and 67.8% (40 out of 59) of those providing community-based support services were commissioned by their local authority; demand is still higher than the provision available, with 57.2% of refuge referrals declined during the year – 18.1% of all referrals were turned down due to lack of capacity in the refuge; the number of spaces in refuge services in England still falls short of the number of spaces recommended by the Council of Europe by 1,694 spaces, which represents a 30.1% shortfall – an additional increase of 361 to 4,251 spaces by 1 November 2020 is due to temporary emergency funding which will soon come to an end; less than half of all vacancies posted on Routes to Support for England in 2019-20 were in rooms suitable for a woman with two children; only 4.0% could consider women who had no recourse to public funds.

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Domestic violence during the lockdown: the needs of Black and minoritised communities during the pandemic

University of Lincoln

The UK's lockdown measures, announced on the 23rd March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic focused on encouraging people to stay at home to keep themselves and their communities safe. However, for those living with perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse, such isolation is potentially more dangerous than catching the virus. Shortly after the lockdown began, charities, police and other frontline support services begun reporting a huge surge in victims/survivors seeking help, placing additional strain on a sector already functioning beyond capacity. In addition to the increase in demand, the need to maintain social distancing has impacted hugely on the day-to-day working practices of this services. Based on interviews with 26 practitioners working in Black and minority ethnic (BME) specialist services in England and Wales, this briefing paper explores the impact of the pandemic on domestic violence in BME communities and on the services to support them.

Last updated on hub: 08 February 2021

COVID-19 Adult Safeguarding Insight Project: findings and discussion

Local Government Association

Findings of a project aimed at creating a national picture about safeguarding adults’ activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is based on the analysis of data submitted on a voluntary basis by local authorities; in all, 92 councils participated in the insight project – over 60 per cent of single tier and county councils in England. In general, safeguarding concerns dropped markedly during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown period, only to return to and then exceed normal levels in June 2020. The trend of Section 42 enquiries showed a similar decline during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown period and upturn in June, although the June upturn was not as great. The effects of COVID-19 and lockdown on safeguarding activity are localised and may vary across England as the pandemic impacted the country unevenly. The percentage distribution of types of abuse within Section 42 enquiries did not appear to change considerably overall, although there is some evidence that some forms of abuse, particularly domestic abuse, increased slightly overall and significantly within some councils, as well as psychological abuse and self-neglect. The percentage of Section 42 enquiries where the risk is located in the individual’s own home has increased markedly since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period, with evidence from participants that this is a direct result of the confinement of people in their homes. During the lockdown period, while dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, some councils developed innovations in their practices and systems. Examples provided by participating councils in the qualitative data, are described in this report.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Telemental health for child trauma treatment during and post-COVID-19: limitations and considerations

Child Abuse and Neglect

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented disruptions and stress in the lives of children and families internationally. Heightened family stress and turmoil can increase risk for, and exacerbate, child maltreatment. As a result, child maltreatment experts are concerned that there will be an influx of children requiring trauma assessment and treatment during and after COVID-19. As physical distancing measures have been implemented and will likely persist into 2021, organizations providing trauma treatment to children and their families have had to rapidly pivot to telemental health to maintain service delivery with clients. While the benefits of telemental health have been identified, including reduced barriers to access, increased cost effectiveness, and broad availability of services, there are unique limitations to its implementation within a child maltreatment population, such as challenges with attention and emotion regulation skills, difficulties identifying dissociative symptoms, and increased time with perpetrators of abuse due to shelter in place orders. These limitations are exacerbated for children and families who are most marginalized and facing the highest levels of social and economic barriers. Lack of access to reliable technology, lack of a private or confidential space for sessions, and reluctance to process trauma in the absence of a safe environment, are all barriers to conducting effective trauma treatment over telemental health. This article discusses both the benefits and barriers to telemental health in a child maltreatment population and offers considerations for child trauma service provision, program development, and policy during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

Responding to COVID19: examples of changing and emerging practice across the East of England

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, COVID19 has prompted a wide range of much needed and proactive responses to ensure people stay as independent as possible, well, safe and connected. Barriers that existed before the pandemic, have in most cases easily been removed. There is evidence of communication, partnership working and digital technology being embraced. Although it is recognised that face to face responses will continue to play an important role, there is evidence of emerging practice which has achieved better outcomes for people and that should be sustained post COVID19. This publication highlights some of those. The paper shares examples of emerging practice during the pandemic. They cover a multitude of areas such as: the use of digital technology; supporting care markets and providers; reaching out to people and communities; supporting people with accommodation needs; ensuring person-centred care and coproduction; and supporting the workforce to stay well.

Last updated on hub: 19 January 2021

Safeguarding children under Covid-19: what are we learning?

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify and share learning about safeguarding children under Covid-19 drawn from a series of webinars held by the Association of Safeguarding Partners (www.theASP.org.uk). The learning is relevant for health, police, local authority and other relevant safeguarding agencies and includes sharing information about both the challenges and opportunities presented during the Covid-19 pandemic. By creating a webinar lead community of learning, lessons can be drawn that will help safeguard children during the remaining of the pandemic and during the release of lockdown as it emerges. Design/methodology/approach: This paper summarises themes from discussions within three webinars run by The Association of Safeguarding Partners (TASP) (www.theASP.org.uk). Each webinar was attended by between 60 and 80 participants, sessions involving presentations and discussions on topics such as “managing safeguarding reviews at a distance”, “the impact on early years’ provision” and “how work with families and children has changed with remote working methods”. With the participants’ consent, webinars were recorded, and these can be viewed on www.theasp.co.uk. Webinars were supported by an on-line programme: “meeting sphere” capturing comments in a “chat” facility and providing capacity for participants to collectively code comments into themes. Findings: Findings from the webinars note concerns about continuing and undetected abuse of children within and outside of the home; about the changing nature of criminal exploitation; and about the strains created by social distancing on children in families experiencing problems with poor mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and domestic abuse. Findings include some important lessons, including the discovery of innovative ways of working, the rapid collation of data across partnerships and about different methods of engaging with children, young people and families. Findings include suggestions about the impact of changes on the future safeguarding of children. Originality/value: There is little published discussion of the implications of Covid-19 on practitioners working on safeguarding children. While some research is emerging, there have been few opportunities for practitioners to listen to emerging practice ideas under Covid-19 or to discuss in an informal context how to address the new and emerging problems in safeguarding children. This think piece contains original material from webinars held with safeguarding children practitioners and is valuable for those working to safeguard children during and post Covid-19.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

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