COVID-19 resources on domestic violence

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Recovery plan: safeguarding and child protection

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out the principle concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on the safety and wellbeing of children and the ability of agencies to respond to situations where children are at risk of harm within their family unit, or from others online and in communities. It outlines short-term and long-term actions that national and/or local government should prioritise to protect children in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. There is very limited evidence on the full impact of the pandemic and lockdown on children and families but the available data and evidence from practitioners working directly with families and children highlight a number of emerging concerns, including: low visibility of children during lockdown; impact on the child protection services; lack of support for families under stress; children in domestic abuse situations; victims of child sexual abuse; child victims of criminal exploitation; children missing from home; young carers; increase in online risks; and pressures on the family justice system. To address the impact of COVID-19 on safeguarding children now and in the future the briefing recommends that the Government: ensure that all children at risk are reached with an offer of help; invest in children’s services capacity to safeguard children; ensure that all vulnerable children are supported to go back to education; put experiences of children and families at the heart of future responses; be ambitious in national policy changes.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing: rapid evidence review

Liverpool John Moores University

This rapid review identifies the current evidence on the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing. Rapid searches were carried out of the academic and grey literature between 18 May and 8 June 2020 to scope and collate evidence. These sources were analysed and used to prepare this rapid evidence review. The findings show that the impacts of COVID-19 have not been felt equally – the pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated longstanding inequalities in society. Conversely, there is also evidence of increased civic participation in response to the pandemic and a positive impact on social cohesion. However, social isolation and loneliness have impacted on wellbeing for many. There are serious concerns about how the combination of greater stress and reduced access to services for vulnerable children and their families may increase the risk of family violence and abuse. Compounding this, safeguarding issues have been largely hidden from view during lockdown. In addition, the review finds that the pandemic has both disrupted and changed the delivery of NHS and social care services. Concerns have been raised about significant drops in A&E use and the health care needs of people with long-term conditions have been significantly impacted. The report concludes by arguing that as we move from the response phase into recovery, the direct and wider impacts of the pandemic on individuals, households and communities will influence their capacity to recover.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Domestic violence and abuse during COVID-19

Advice and resources for supporting adults and children experiencing domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Safeguarding: remote and blended learning: challenges and approaches

Education and Training Inspectorate

This paper identifies the key safeguarding challenges faced by schools and educational and training organisations during the period of educational closures due to COVID-19 and how these have been approached across all phases of education and training. Challenges include: the impact of the absence of day-to-day contact with more vulnerable children and young people; the reported increase in domestic abuse cases during COVID-19; a need to have updated policies reflecting a change to e-learning practices; concerns regarding the use of online remote learning platforms or communication methods; the high numbers of apprentices who have lost their jobs or been furloughed; most European Social Fund (ESF) projects lacking the IT infrastructure for remote learning and on-line support for their participants. The paper sets out a range of examples from each phase detailing how specific organisations have responded and the approaches they have put in place.

Last updated on hub: 20 July 2020

Roadmap for frontline professionals interacting with male perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse

The roadmap set out in this report aims to assist frontline professionals in health care or social services, child protection services, police, and others, coming into contact with male service users who are violent or abusive to their female partners. Working with these men to change their behaviour is a key step towards preventing domestic violence. The contents of the roadmap are based on a review of the relevant literature and input from frontline professionals, male perpetrators and experts working with perpetrators who agreed to take part in focus groups or interviews in three European countries (France, Italy, Spain) as part of the ENGAGE project. The roadmap consists of introductory chapters to set the stage for engaging perpetrators, covering definitions and consequences of violence and abuse; accountability and victim safety; and beliefs towards men who use domestic violence. A flowchart then introduces the four steps to engage and refer perpetrators: step 1 – identifying domestic violence and abuse in men; step 2 – asking men about domestic violence and abuse; step 3 – motivating men for referral; and step 4 – referring men to perpetrator programmes within a coordinated multi-agency response. A subsequent chapter deals with professional, personal and legal dilemmas professionals might encounter in this work. The last chapter summarises 12 do’s and don’ts when engaging with a perpetrator. The references and an extensive annex of tools and resources complete the roadmap.

Last updated on hub: 15 July 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) supplementary national violence against women guidance

Scottish Government

This supplementary guidance aims to ensure a sustainable, joined-up approach to safeguarding the needs of women, children and young people experiencing VAWG during COVID-19 is embedded at a local strategic level. The guide aims to ensure local decision-makers are aware of the suite of COVID-19 guidance that has been developed nationally and that may be relevant to supporting women, children and young people affected by VAWG, and to tackling perpetrators of that abuse; highlight risks to women, children and young people affected by VAWG in the short term (during periods of lockdown and other social restrictions), medium term (as restrictions are lifted and we move towards recovery), and long term (as partners transition to a ‘new normal’); and support local decision-makers to identify short-, medium- and long-terms actions to mitigate risks as a result of COVID-19 and begin to support early planning for the post-pandemic period in order to ensure recovery needs are recognised and addressed at a strategic level.

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

Briefing on individuals with NRPF who are experiencing, or are at risk of, homelessness and destitution during the COVID-19 pandemic

Project 17

Considers the implications of the COVID-19 crisis for individuals who are unable to access social housing or most welfare benefits due to their ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) immigration status. Without the safety net of social security, these individuals are at high risk of homelessness, destitution and exploitation, and are therefore particularly vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. The paper focuses in particular on education, social care, domestic abuse and health. It provides brief outlines of the issues with the current provision of services in each area and the impact that the lack of access to support has on families with NRPF. The paper sets out suggested questions to help local authorities and the government to reflect on their current practices, their responses to the pandemic and how they support individuals with NRPF status, and future plans.

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

Impact of easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on domestic violence and abuse

Social Care Institute for Excellence

A quick guide developed to provide practical ideas for social care professionals about the impact on domestic violence and abuse as lockdown eases.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Isolated and struggling: social isolation and the risk of child maltreatment, in lockdown and beyond

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing pulls together research evidence to explore whether the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic heighten the risk of child maltreatment in the UK. From the analysis of a range of different risks and issues three main areas of risk were identified: 1. Increase in stressors to parents and caregivers – the evidence confirms that the risk of child abuse is higher when caregivers become overloaded by the stressors in their lives and there are indications that the coronavirus pandemic has increased stressors on caregivers; 2. Increase in children and young people's vulnerability – there are indications that the conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have heightened the vulnerability of children and young people to certain types of abuse, for example online abuse, abuse within the home, criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation; 3. Reduction in normal protective services – there is evidence that the ‘normal’ safeguards have been reduced during the pandemic but social connections and social support can provide a protective effect for children’s safety and wellbeing. The report recommends a national and local response from governments and statutory agencies which includes practical steps such as: providing practical support to parents around income maximisation to reduce stresses caused by financial insecurity; addressing digital exclusion, ensuring all children have access to the technology they need to access school, therapeutic support and other services; comprehensive and long-term funding for children’s services, with at least £2 billion a year invested in early intervention and therapeutic services.

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2020

Domestic abuse: get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Home Office

Guidance on how to get help for people who are victims of domestic violence or know someone who is a victim of domestic abuse. It acknowledges that coronavirus household isolation instructions can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse and makes it clear that those instructions do not apply if someone needs to leave their home to escape domestic abuse. The guidance covers the following topics: coronavirus (COVID-19) and domestic abuse; recognise domestic abuse; report it; get help if you, or someone you know, is a victim; economic abuse; welfare benefits and housing advice; get help if you think you may be an abuser; support for employers and professionals; get legal help; What to do if you don’t have settled status in the UK. The guidance signposts to additional support materials. [Published 5 October 2018. Last updated 6 August 2020]

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020