COVID-19 resources on domestic violence

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How coronavirus has affected equality and human rights

Equality and Human Rights Commission

This report outlines the currently known key impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on equality and human rights across key areas of life, including work, poverty, education, social care, and justice and personal security; and the risks faced by different groups. Key findings include: the economic impact of the pandemic has been unequal, entrenching existing inequalities and widening others; the groups most likely to be affected by the expected rise in poverty include young people, ethnic minorities, and disabled people, who are already closest to the poverty line; older people, ethnic minorities and some disabled people, particularly those in care homes, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic; the increased demand for social care has threatened the financial resilience of the sector, potentially impacting its users and workers; this has led to an increased reliance on unpaid carers, who are more likely to be women; there has been a rise in reported domestic abuse and there are concerns about the ability of survivors to access justice.

Last updated on hub: 21 October 2020

Family violence and COVID‐19: increased vulnerability and reduced options for support

Editorial published in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing that considers the issue of family violence during pandemics. Covers the themes of isolation and family violence; a perfect storm; COVID‐19 and coercive control; and reimagining support networks for people living with family violence during these challenging times. Citation: Usher, K. et al. (2020). Family violence and COVID‐19: Increased vulnerability and reduced options for support. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 29(4)549-552 .

Last updated on hub: 19 October 2020

The COVID‐19 pandemic and its impact on children in domestic violence refuges

Child Abuse Review

This short report, reports the findings of a a web‐based survey of domestic violence refuges in Norway (N = 46) distributed on 8 April 2020 with the aim of obtaining an overview of the impact of the COVID‐19 crisis and the virus control measures implemented on 13 March 2020 on victims of domestic violence and abuse. During lockdown in Norway, all daycare centres and schools were closed immediately, as were many small businesses, including restaurants and shops. Moreover, all gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts, were banned. These and numerous other restrictions in Norway during the spring of 2020 represented the most extreme measures enforced by the Norwegian government since the Second World War. Many of the restrictions have significantly impacted the lives of children and adolescents, especially the closing of daycare centres, schools and arenas in which many children spend their leisure time, such as football fields, swimming pools and art centres. Three key themes identified in the survey responses were: concern for children living with domestic violence outside of the refuge; concern for children and adolescents living at the refuge; and services that are flexible and accustomed to crisis situation. While at time of writing, the lockdown had been lifted in Norway, the authors report that the lives of children and adolescents remain very much affected by the pandemic, and there is reason to believe that the last few months have seen an increase in violence against children.

Last updated on hub: 12 October 2020

From unnoticed to invisible: the impact of COVID‐19 on children and young people experiencing domestic violence and abuse

Child Abuse Review

This continuing professional development paper provides an overview of the impact that COVID‐19 has had on specialist services delivering support to children and young people experiencing domestic violence and abuse (DVA). It draws upon the experiences of being the operational manager of two specialist children's services. The target audience includes professionals working with young people in a range of settings including schools, youth clubs and statutory services. This understanding also contributes a valuable insight into those with a strategic or commissioning responsibility to provide support services for children and young people.

Last updated on hub: 12 October 2020

Emerging evidence: coronavirus and children and young people's mental health: issue 2

Evidence Based Practice Unit

A rapid review of the evidence on the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how parents, carers, and professionals can help them to manage and minimise these challenges. It is the second of a series of reviews and captures research published between 5th May 2020 and 24th May 2020. The evidence suggests that the nature and duration of the pandemic and lockdown measures are having significant impacts on children and young people’s mental health, contributing to the onset as well as exacerbation of worry, fear, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress. Children with pre-existing mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions and children from minority ethnic groups are at greater risk of mental health problems during the pandemic. Several social and economic factors (e.g. poverty, separation from parents and carers, domestic violence) make some young people more vulnerable to the mental health challenges of the pandemic. Researchers are emphasising the importance of monitoring the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health. As stresses and conflicting responsibilities increase, those supporting children and young people should also prioritise their own self-care in order to support the mental health and wellbeing of their families.

Last updated on hub: 28 September 2020

Sexual violence and COVID-19: all silent on the home front

Journal of Gender-Based Violence

This article reflects on the framing of violence against women in mainstream media in the UK, and some policy documents and guidance, in the first four weeks of the COVID-19 induced lockdown. In so doing, this article considers the implications associated with the frequent failure to acknowledge sexual violence as a unique, and discrete, element of violence against women. Amid a context of overshadowing and absence, this paper also raise for debate (and recognition) the likely challenges associated with moving specialist voluntary sector sexual violence organisations into workers’ homes, to enable service provision to continue. In developing the arguments, the article draws on conversations with voluntary sector sexual violence practitioners in England and existing literature that highlights the importance of the boundary between home and the job, when working with the ‘taint’ of sexual offences. Such a boundary rapidly recedes when sexual violence services, and their functions, are moved into workers’ living spaces. This article set out some of the likely impacts of this changed work context and argue that projections for the resources required to manage COVID-19 in the longer term, must not forget about the needs of frontline voluntary sector workers. Key messages include: The UK mainstream media framing of violence against women, in the first four weeks of lockdown, missed crucial opportunities to make sexual violence visible and direct survivors into support; and the transition of sexual violence service provision into voluntary sector workers’ homes, will have longer-term implications that require resources to manage.

Last updated on hub: 23 September 2020

Domestic abuse awareness raising tool


This online tool is a learning resource for professionals. It is an awareness-raising resource and serves as an introduction to domestic abuse and coercive control. The tool provides an overview of the main considerations when responding to domestic abuse and helps explore: the definition and prevalence of domestic abuse; the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018; general awareness and identification of domestic abuse, including coercive control; and safe responses and referral pathways. This learning resource reflects real experiences of women, children, men, LGBT people and the BME community. It also includes case studies that show tactics perpetrators use to manipulate victims and responders, as well as the impact of domestic abuse and coercive control on the whole family. It includes a section on Covid-19 and domestic abuse.

Last updated on hub: 18 September 2020

Reducing parental conflict in the context of Covid-19: adapting to virtual and digital provision of support

The Early Intervention Foundation

This report focuses on how Covid-19 and the lockdown have impacted on issues relating to parental conflict, and how those seeking to reduce parental conflict can adapt to the current situation using virtual and digital methods. The report presents findings from an EIF survey, conducted in June and July, which 42 local authorities and 13 intervention developers and providers used to describe how Covid-19 has impacted upon their ability to support families. It also provides a summary of 12 virtual and digital interventions available to support interparental relationships, and offer practical guidance on how to assess the impact of such interventions and how to appropriately engage parents remotely. The report finds that the vast majority of local authorities and intervention developers and providers have adapted their provision to be available virtually or digitally; most of the pre-existing virtual and digital interventions targeting interparental relationships have yet to show robust evidence that they can improve outcomes for children; and there is an opportunity to generate stronger evidence about the effectiveness of virtual and digital interventions, although this is likely to need support. The report provides practical guidance on: evaluating virtual and digital interventions targeting the interparental relationship, covering planning an impact evaluation, and selecting and using appropriate outcome measures in a virtual and digital context; engaging parents remotely, including strategies for recruiting and retaining participants in virtual and digital RPC interventions, paying special attention to the importance of the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and participant.

Last updated on hub: 17 September 2020

Domestic violence and abuse, coronavirus, and the media narrative

Journal of Gender-Based Violence

Following lockdowns in countries around the world, reports emerged of a ‘surge’ or ‘spikes’ in the number of domestic violence and abuse cases. It is critical to contextualise this: more men are not starting to be abusive or violent; rather, the patterns of abuse are becoming more frequent. Spiking and surging make us think in terms of more one-off incidents but it is more likely that the pattern of abuse that is already there is increasing in terms of frequency and type because both parties remain together at all times. Amid such a crisis, it is imperative that we continue to see the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse as both a pattern of abusive behaviours and a product of gendered social and cultural norms, rather than a reaction to a specific factor or event, such as COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 27 August 2020

Experiences of child and adolescent to parent violence in the Covid-19 pandemic

University of Oxford

This report draws upon the findings of online surveys of 104 parents who have experiences C/APV from their child aged 10-19 years and 47 practitioners who work with families experiencing C/APV. It also draws data provided by all 43 police forces across England and Wales on total numbers of reported C/APV incidents over the one-year period from 1st April 2019 to 31st May 2020. The analysis reveals that 70% of parents reported an increase in violent episodes during lockdown; 69% of practitioners said they had seen an increase in referrals for families experiencing C/APV; 64% of practitioners identified that the severity or incidence of violence had increased; 29% of parents identified a decline in C/APV during the lockdown period which was explained by a reduction in the stresses and triggers for violence in this period. Respondents identified some lockdown-specific reasons for the increase in C/APV, which include spatial confinement and coerced proximity, changes in structure and routine, fear and anxiety and lack of access to formal and informal support. The report makes ten recommendations to services, local authorities, and government in planning a response to C/APV, including ensuring robust safeguarding measures for young people and families experiencing C/APV; planning for a rise in demand for support as lockdown lifts and schools and workplaces reopen; avoiding over-criminalisation of young people using violence; and providing safe spaces for families at crisis point and respite care for young people.

Last updated on hub: 24 August 2020

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