The COVID-19 crisis is affecting all areas of life and there has been high profile discussion around the impact of lockdown and isolation on those who are at risk from domestic abuse.
While those at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices have been mentioned in these conversations, the voices of those who are both survivors of or still living in abusive environments of this nature are not being heard.
While our drop-in sessions and one-to-one services are disrupted due to the coronavirus outbreak, Savera UK’s team is maintaining contact with its clients via telephone and text support, and its helpline remains open. In the course of our work over the past few weeks we asked some of our clients how the current situation was affecting them and if they were receiving adequate support.
One client, who has escaped an abusive situation is currently living alone with her children, one of whom has ADHD. She said: “We are isolated as we don’t have any friends or family. Before [the government lockdown] going out was a positive way to kill time, but I can’t manage to take all of the children out at once.”
Since speaking to the client we have managed to connect her with some support services that can assist with the family’s needs. Speaking of Savera UK’s support, she said: “If you talk to us it makes us feel secure and safe, like someone is there for us.”
Other clients have spoken of abusive partners and relatives whom they have escaped getting back in contact for support. They have also highlighted difficulty in getting in touch with other services that they rely on, something that our team is helping to remedy by chasing up and connecting these organisations with the clients who need them.
“I can’t go out and it’s very hard. It feels like everything has stopped,” she said. “But [with Savera UK] if I need anything, I feel supported.”
Another concern specific to those living in or at risk of HBA or HBV is the fact that they might be isolated with multiple perpetrators, not just a partner, but relatives and in-laws as well. It is vital that all survivors and people at risk realise that support and help is still available and that Savera UK can also help in connecting you to other relevant support services.
Reported by Nikki Girvan.