COVID-19 resources on domestic violence

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Home Office preparedness for Covid-19 (Coronavirus): domestic abuse and risks of harm within the home: second report of session 2019-21

Parliament. House of Commons. Home Affairs Committee

A report of a brief inquiry by the Home Affairs Committee into the risk of domestic abuse and child abuse within the home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence suggests that contacts to domestic abuse helplines have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, with incidents becoming more complex and serious, with higher levels of physical violence and coercive control. The inquiry calls for a wider cross-Government strategy to tackle domestic abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic. It recommends any national action plan should include access to information and support, outreach and prevention, funding for support services including specialist and Black and Minority Ethnic services, housing support and refuge accommodation, and a criminal justice response. In addition to the national strategy, local authorities should also produce local action plans as part of their emergency Covid-19 planning. The Committee also recommend that the Government provide an emergency funding package for support services for domestic abuse and vulnerable children.

Last updated on hub: 29 April 2020

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women and girls

VAWG Helpdesk

A review of the evidence on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – and similar epidemics – might impact on violence against women and girls (VAWG). Evidence on the impact of the outbreak is still at a very early stage and not yet well documented, given that it begun in January 2020. However, some of the early indications are that there are several areas where women and girls are likely to be at increased risk of violence. These include: increased risk of domestic violence; increased risk of workplace violence in the health sector; increased risk of racial and sexual harassment (both online and offline); increased risk of abuse and exploitation for vulnerable women workers; increased risk of VAWG in emergency settings; and increased risk of sexual exploitation and violence by state officials and armed guards. Experience from past epidemics suggests the importance of a ‘twin track’ approach, combining support to organisations working directly with survivors and integrating VAWG into sectoral responses.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 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

Learn on the go podcasts for social workers

Podcast series where the latest research, theories and practice issues, and look at what they mean for social workers are discussed. Recent episodes cover topics relevant to the pandemic including safeguarding, remote supervision, The Coronavirus Act and Care Act easements, loneliness and isolation, self care and domestic abuse.

Last updated on hub: 09 June 2020

Pandemics and violence against women and children

Center for Global Development

Times of economic uncertainty, civil unrest, and disaster are linked to a myriad of risk factors for increased violence against women and children (VAW/C). Pandemics are no exception. In fact, the regional or global nature and associated fear and uncertainty associated with pandemics provide an enabling environment that may exacerbate or spark diverse forms of violence. Understanding mechanisms underlying these dynamics are important for crafting policy and program responses to mitigate adverse effects. Based on existing published and grey literature, we document nine main (direct and indirect) pathways linking pandemics and VAW/C, through effects of (on): (1) economic insecurity and poverty-related stress, (2) quarantines and social isolation, (3) disaster and conflict-related unrest and instability, (4) exposure to exploitative relationships due to changing demographics, (5) reduced health service availability and access to first responders, (6) inability of women to temporarily escape abusive partners, (7) virus-specific sources of violence, (8) exposure to violence and coercion in response efforts, and (9) violence perpetrated against health care workers. We also suggest additional pathways with limited or anecdotal evidence likely to effect smaller subgroups. Based on these mechanisms, we suggest eight policy and program responses for action by governments, civil society, international and community-based organizations. Finally, as research linking pandemics directly to diverse forms of VAW/C is scarce, we lay out a research agenda comprising three main streams, to better (1) understand the magnitude of the problem, (2) elucidate mechanisms and linkages with other social and economic factors and (3) inform intervention and response options. We hope this paper can be used by researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to help inform further evidence generation and policy action while situating VAW/C within the broader need for intersectional gender- and feminist-informed pandemic response.

Last updated on hub: 25 June 2020

Protecting and safeguarding older people: Covid-19 information pack

Older People's Commissioner for Wales

This pack provides a range of useful information and resources about keeping older people safe in Wales – including how to identify older people who may be at risk, and contact details for key organisations that can provide crucial help and support.

Last updated on hub: 17 June 2020

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

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

Responding to the ‘Shadow Pandemic’: practitioner views on the nature of and responses to violence against women in Victoria, Australia during the COVID-19 restrictions

Monash University

This report presents the findings from a survey to capture the voices and experiences of practitioners responding to women experiencing violence during the COVID-19 shutdown in Victoria, Australia. With more people confined to their homes to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, there is a greater risk of violence against women and children. The analysis of practitioner responses to the survey found that the pandemic has led to: an increase in the frequency and severity of violence against women (VAW); an increase in the complexity of women’s needs; for 42 per cent of respondents, an increase in first-time family violence reporting by women; enhanced tactics to achieve social isolation and forms of violence specifically relating to the threat and risk of COVID-19 infection; for many women experiencing violence during the lockdown period, there was less ability to seek help; service innovations have occurred across Victoria to enhance accessibility and effectiveness of service delivery during the COVID-19 easing of restrictions and recovery phase; numerous challenges to providing support, undertaking effective risk assessment and carrying out safety planning during the COVID-19 shutdown phase. The research also draws attention to the wellbeing considerations for practitioners working remotely to support women experiencing violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to develop worker supports as restrictions are eased and a period of recovery is entered.

Last updated on hub: 24 June 2020