People affected by domestic abuse who have to stay at home during Covid-19 may be in danger of further incidents of violence
Charities such as Women's Aid and Aoibhneas have called to attention the risk that self-isolation can put to women and children suffering from domestic abuse and violence.
Many refuges that assist those dealing with domestic abuse have had to close their doors on face-to-face consultations due to the outbreak, and are instead operating over the phone or online.
Since the beginning of the global pandemic, some of the worst affected areas have reported an increase in calls to refuges in relation to domestic violence. In the Chinese city of Jingzhou, which is located in the same province as Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, the number of reported domestic violence cases has reportedly tripled.
Irish refuges have called for measures to be put in place to ensure the same spike does not occur in Ireland during the Covid-19 outbreak. Women's Aid took to Twitter last week to call attention to the issue, saying that their 24-hour helpline has already heard from women "at a heightened state of alert, trauma and anxiety because of the emergency."
Thread: Women's Aid is deeply concerned about the impact of the #Covid19Ireland crisis on the safety of women and children affected by domestic abuse and is calling on the Government to make they are not abandoned and ignored during this period. #CoronavirusIreland pic.twitter.com/JmA7mfBrwC
— Women's Aid Ireland (@Womens_Aid) March 18, 2020
Women's Aid mentioned that workplaces and schools often provide "sanctuaries" for those who live in abusive households, and that social distancing measures mean "there are women trapped inside with their abuser who is using this opportunity to further his control."
Aoibhneas, a charity that supports women and children affected by domestic violence, has reported a "notable rise" in the number of calls seeking support and emergency accommodation since the outbreak began.
Where to get help
SAFE Ireland, an organisation combatting violence against women and children, has compiled a list of resources around the country that can help those suffering from domestic abuse, even during the Covid-19 outbreak. Many have had to update their services in accordance with government measures, but still offer support over the phone and via email.
Women's Aid has extended its hours for its Instant Messaging service, with volunteers now available any time you see the 'Talk to the Helpline' symbol on their website.
Our Instant Messaging service is available on https://t.co/9sbAgoYuSE Mon, Wed, Fri 7-10pm & thanks to the fantastic response from our trained #volunteers we are now providing more support outside those hours. When you see 'Talk to the Helpline' we are open! #COVID19ireland pic.twitter.com/fa6u2PabCj
— Women's Aid Ireland (@Womens_Aid) March 24, 2020
Their phone helpline is still operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1800 341 900.
Offaly Domestic Violence Support Service has added an additional helpline service to reach as many people as possible during the pandemic. They are available to call on 0860419154 or 0579351886, from 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week.
If you feel you are in immediate danger, call the emergency services on 112.
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