Regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or ability, domestic abuse is present.
While it is not just women who experience inter-personal violence and abuse, women are considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of abuse, including sexual abuse.
Women are also more likely to be murdered by an abuser. Two women are killed each week by a partner in England and Wales.
Due to the disproportionate ways in which domestic abuse affects women, it is sometimes described as a gendered crime.
Perpetrators are responsible for abuse, not Covid
The rise in reported cases of domestic abuse means it has been featured heavily in the news, but we must remember that Covid-19 does not cause domestic abuse.
The pandemic has seen existing cases of abuse intensify, with perpetrators using lockdown measures as a new way to coerce and control, along with routes of escape being limited.
On top of this, the unbroken presence of abusers means the resilience of victims is constantly chipped away with fewer moments of respite.
A case of domestic abuse against a woman was reported to West Midlands Police every 17 minutes in the first month of lockdown. Many more cases go unreported.
Although these figures are distressing, we are driven by the strength and determination of the women we support. Change can be made when we understand a problem and those who need it are given the right support.
What needs to happen
We should all be aware of the services available to us. Despite less access to phone and online support, 38% of domestic abuse services reported increases in demand during lockdown.
Domestic abuse and its lasting impact can alter people’s lives in multiple and complex ways, meaning survivors may need access to various kinds of support.
Anawim’s free helpline is available on 0800 019 8818 for anyone who identifies as a woman, providing a safe and confidential resource to speak with a specialist female caseworker about violence and abuse, as well as mental health, addiction, finances, housing, families and relationships and anything else.
Women can also access our live chat via the orange button in the corner of this page. Sometimes it can be difficult for people to see when domestic abuse is happening, please share these resources in case someone you know may need them.
While our own services are specialised for women, anyone can experience domestic abuse. Respect run a free helpline for men on 0808 8010327.
LGBT+ and anti-violence charity Galop provide a national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans+ domestic abuse helpline on 0800 999 5428. They can also provide support for those who have experienced hate crime and sexual violence.
Increased isolation means it’s more vital than ever that we check in on our friends, family members and colleagues. Domestic abuse takes place at all levels of society and it’s important to look out for warning signs that might indicate someone is in danger.
75% of adults experiencing domestic abuse are targeted at work. Employers should also take responsibility to address domestic abuse, signposting to appropriate services. Anawim currently offers domestic abuse awareness training. This is tailored and can include topics such as: raising awareness, information about legal options, how to support your employees, risk assessments and improving your organisations response to domestic abuse.
Organisations that provide these vital services need the security of sustainable funding. Anawim was recently involved in a report by Women’s Budget Group highlighting the £10m funding gap Women’s Centres face from next year. You can read more about this here.