The COVID-19 lockdown has seen an unprecedented rise in domestic abuse across the world, and a United Nations report has estimated that the longer lockdown continues, the more incidences of domestic violence there will be.

In the UK, national domestic abuse charity Refuge, which provides specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic violence, has noted that in the early stages of the lockdown, traffic to its website rose by 150 per cent and there was an average 25 per cent increase in calls to its national domestic abuse helpline. 

Victims of domestic violence during lockdown are predominantly female and the perpetrator male, making this a gendered issue. Unfortunately, this is reflected in the rate of female domestic homicide in the UK, which has doubled from two to four per week since the lockdown began. This has been described as a hidden pandemic.

Restored, a Christian charity that aims to end violence against women, has put together lockdown resources for victims of abuse, church leaders and men. 

Supporting victims and survivors

Isolation is a tool that perpetrators already know how to use as a tactic to gain control. The lockdown can, therefore, appear to legitimise isolation and perpetrators will use it as a cover for abuse.

The police can help. If you are being abused call 999 and press 55; the police will recognise you may not be able to talk but can give you instructions.

An alternative is Refuge’s national domestic abuse helpline, 08082000247. The charity can help you find specialist services, from a refuge to a lawyer, which you can find out more about on our website, at any time of day or night.

Our resources also provide more information on how to make you and your children safe.

Supporting church leaders

Domestic abuse is hard to see. Many women do not think they are being abused and perpetrators are good at hiding it. But there are signs you can train yourself to look for.

Restored’s church pack is a starting point to help you understand abuse and keep a victim safe, and our COVID-19 toolkit will help you apply this to lockdown. 

We have also arranged a weekly series of one-hour training sessions via video link. Email info@​restoredrelationships.​org to book a free place. Visit Teatime Talks for more information.

Supporting men

Prolonged periods in isolation and working from home will generate feelings of restriction and make nerves fray. These are not an excuse to take things out on others and find a scapegoat in your partner. These are times to take control, own your feelings and find ways of destressing. Our leaflet for men will give you practical advice on doing this. 

For more information contact the Restored team at info@​restoredrelationships.​org

Photo by Polina Zimmerman 

Domestic abuse is hard to see. Many women do not think they are being abused and perpetrators are good at hiding it.