Stay safe, stay home is a key message being pushed forward right now, but what about those people who don’t want to stay at home because it isn’t safe?
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse at some point during their lifetime and with thanks to the coronavirus we will see a spike in domestic abuse incidents.
Firstly, it is important to understand that living with an abuser is all about power and control, with an abuser doing all they can to gain and maintain that power and control.
Domestic abuse is already an epidemic which knows no boundaries and is a complex crime whereby children are used as a weapon and the pandemic that is the Coronovirus is now fuelling domestic abuse.
We must remember that domestic abuse is not only physical abuse but it can also include, but is not limited to, psychological, sexual and financial abuse. However, I do worry that there will also be a significant increase in victims experiencing physical abuse because social distancing and isolation, bruises will have time to fade.
Jobs are already being lost, which could possibly lead onto an increase in financial abuse. This could see many victims of domestic abuse forced to take out loans in their name so that the debt is left in their name. Many victims of domestic abuse already have to be their abuser for money to buy necessities such as sanitary products, if their abusers choose not to give their partner any money as more cities go on lockdown many women won’t have sanitary products to use over the upcoming months.
Financial abuse will lead to food not being put on the table or addictions such as gambling not being met, which will give the abuser the excuse to abuse
There will be a huge impact on children and young people witnessing domestic abuse at home, as schools are now shut, they have no safe plact to go. They will see and hear things that they shouldn’t and don’t think for one minute that because they are in another room they don’t know what’s happening in the home.
Not only will they witness the abuse, they might also endure the abuse too, an increase in sexual abuse.
Mobile phones are completely controlled by an abuser who will often read text messages and scroll through their partners history.
For a victim of domestic abuse living with an abuser is mentally draining. What was okay yesterday isn’t going to be okay today, the goal posts are constantly moved.
There will be extra pressure put on the victims too; meals not being cooked at the right time because there is no food, children will be at home and the abuser will more than likely want peace and quite so the victim will have to keep the children quite, yet on the other hand many abusers are jealous of the time their partner spends with their child/children.
Abusers will also use the coronavirus to their advantage; they will say not to contact or they will keep the children with them longer saying it’s because they are self isolating.
The most concerning thing is victims won’t be able to reach out for support with ease because their movements will be monitored. Safety plans might be found, text messages read and this isolation could give abusers the time to talk their victim into staying with them.
As it stands, the coronavirus is just the tip of the ice-berg, however, domestic abuse could be at it’s peak.