COVID-19 resources on domestic violence

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Accommodation for perpetrators of domestic abuse: emerging issues and responses due to COVID-19

Drive Project

Isolation and social distancing during the COVID-19 lockdown have led and are likely to continue to lead to an increase in domestic abuse, violence and coercive control at all levels of risk. This paper argues that, where it would be in the best interests of the victim and better ensure their safety and wellbeing, adequate housing provision is urgently needed for perpetrators of domestic violence. The lack of availability of such accommodation is limiting options available to victims and police in their endeavour to keep victims safe.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

COVID-19 and violence against women: what the health sector/system can do

World Health Organization

Violence against women remains a major global public health and women’s health threat during emergencies. This short document provides some key information about what the health sector and individuals can do during to prevent and address violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes tips for coping with stress at home and actions to take if family members are experiencing violence.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Covid-19: understanding inequalities in mental health during the pandemic

Centre for Mental Health

This briefing paper explores the mental health inequalities that are associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. It finds that the virus and the lockdown are putting greater pressure on groups and communities whose mental health was already poorer and more precarious. These include people living with mental health problems, whose access to services has been interrupted; people who live with both mental health problems and long term physical conditions that put them at greater risk of the virus; older adults who are both susceptible to the virus themselves and much more likely than others to lose partners and peers; women and children exposed to trauma and violence at home during lockdown; and people from the ethnic groups where the prevalence of COVID-19 has been highest and outcomes have been the worst, notably people from Black British, Black African, Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds. The paper calls on the Government to take urgent action to address race inequality in mental health, including the urgent need for funding for organisations working in communities that have been affected most deeply by the pandemic. It calls for action to ensure people with mental health problems have access to food and medicine as well as continued financial safety-nets for those at greatest risk from the virus. And it calls for longer term action, including to build on the positive steps that have already been taken to prevent homelessness and improve the benefits system.

Last updated on hub: 29 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

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

Domestic abuse: the shadow pandemic

Social Care Institute for Excellence

Nimal Jude, Practice Development Manager at the Social Care Institute for Excellence, shares some insights about the extent to which domestic abuse is increasing during lockdown. The blog suggests that anyone can be involved and that positive steps in prevention is vital. Also suggests that well-evidenced perpetrator programmes, such as the DRIVE programme that employ a whole systems approach and coordinated multi-agency response need to be put in place. [Published 27 May 2020]

Last updated on hub: 22 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

Supporting ‘off-radar’ children and young people who are at risk of violence/abuse in their household: Part 1 (interim report)

Survivors’ Voices

This survivor-led report contains relevant possible actions to support children who are 'off-radar' (unknown to any statutory services) during and post pandemic 'lockdown' periods. It provides an initial collation and thematic analysis of the results of a survivor-led and rapid-response survey. This was targeted at people who had experience of being abused as children whilst unknown to safeguarding or support services, in order to capture the wisdom of lived experience regarding what practical actions may help reach this population. Actions and recommendations cover a range of topics and thematic areas, which are grouped into the settings to which they apply. These include: schools, nurseries, and childcare; other statutory services; youth organisations and other voluntary agencies and services that work with young people; government and national and international agencies; communities and families. The report suggests that the overwhelming consensus is that there is a need for a major awareness-raising and information campaign using TV/media and a variety of social and other media; and to develop ways to ensure children and young people can communicate with those who can help, including apps, a free phone helpline and web-based links.

Last updated on hub: 17 June 2020

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on child welfare: domestic abuse

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing uses insight from NSPCC helpline contacts and Childline counselling sessions to highlight the impact of domestic abuse on children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic. Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people who are, or have been, in a relationship. Between 23 March and 17 May 2020 the NSPCC helpline received 1,500 contacts from adults worried about the impact of domestic abuse on children, and Childline delivered over 500 counselling sessions to children and young people who were worried about domestic abuse. The key themes of these contacts include: reduced access to support networks; and lockdown bringing domestic abuse into sharp focus – making it harder to speak out, making it more difficult to leave, drinking during lockdown, exploiting fears about the coronavirus, young people worried about other family members.

Last updated on hub: 16 June 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

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