COVID-19 resources on domestic violence

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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

A perfect storm: the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic abuse survivors and the services supporting them

Women’s Aid

This report presents findings from the first phase of a research project exploring the impact of Covid-19 on experiences of domestic abuse for adult and child survivors and the specialist domestic services supporting them. It draws on the analysis of data from existing service directories, a thematic analysis of trends, and initial and follow-up surveys of providers and survivors. Findings suggest that whilst the Covid-19 pandemic did not cause domestic abuse, it created a perfect storm of challenges for survivors and the services supporting them. The lockdown measures gave perpetrators a tool that they quickly learnt to use for coercion, manipulation and to induce fear. This in turn exposed survivors to worsening domestic abuse, whilst restricting their access to support. At the same time, the pandemic created challenges for the specialist domestic abuse support sector in providing life-saving support, including lost income, staff shortages and additional costs of remote working. The report argues that to address this perfect storm domestic abuse must be seen as a priority at the highest level within all work across government; businesses and communities need to play a critical role in raising awareness of abuse and signposting survivors to specialist support; the government must create a long-term sustainable funding solution for all support services; and the government must address the recommendations outlined by sector experts looking at the impact of Covid-19 on the experiences of Black and minoritised women, migrant women, Deaf and disabled women and other marginalised groups.

Last updated on hub: 20 August 2020

Voices from lockdown: a chance for change: interim findings report

Agenda

This report focuses on the first three months of lockdown in the UK, looking at the needs and experiences of marginalised women and girls and the implications for the voluntary and community organisations that support them. It provides insights collected from an online survey of 72 organisations working with women and girls at risk, in-depth interviews with professionals from those organisations and interviews with the women and girls who use those support programmes whilst facing multiple disadvantages. The research highlights the challenges faced by this specialist sector, as well as important learnings and innovations being developed. It suggests that two concerning trends are emerging: firstly, that more women and girls are in need of support; and secondly, that their needs are increasingly more complex and urgent. While the demand for services is growing, nearly half, 46 per cent, of organisations reported that their financial position during the lockdown had worsened. Of those organisations that saw their financial position worsen, 30 per cent were small providers, supporting less than 25 women a month, with an income of less than £50,000. The report makes recommendations to ensure four core ambitions for recovery can be achieved and the specialist sector is adequately funded and supported: ensuring equality, insight and transparency to achieve effective commissioning and funding decisions; building respect, dignity and participation, removing the barriers to support services for women and girls; empowering local responses and driving collaboration through funding and commissioning; valuing expertise and growing innovation, harnessing the full potential of the women’s voluntary and community sector.

Last updated on hub: 17 August 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

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

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