Who would’ve thought that our lives would change so much in a matter of weeks because of the Coronavirus? It has forced the government to implement a national lockdown to ensure that more people don’t contract the virus. In simple terms, people are instructed to stay home and avoid social interactions.
While self-isolation is an important step in the fight against the coronavirus, it can be dangerous for the thousands of women and children who stay in toxic and abusive homes.
Let’s dive in deeper on how this pandemic is affecting the lives of domestic violence victims across the country:
No chance to talk to family or friends
Imagine being with an abusive partner 24/7 – this is a nightmare for people who used being at work or at a family member’s house as a chance to escape for a few hours. But now, how does a victim get a break from their partner during the lockdown? Abusive partners are known to be controlling, making it almost impossible for a victim to talk to their loved ones about what’s going on in their home, or how they’re feeling. Even if the abuse gets worse, they have no chance of seeking help from the people they’re closest to because their abuser is always there.
Victims have nowhere to go
Women and children living in abusive households are ordered by the government to stay home, so now they can’t visit a family member’s house or go to a hotel during the 21-day lockdown.
However, there is help available from POWA on 0766945911 to assist in placing you in a shelter during this time.
Less opportunity to seek vital services
The sad thing about being in an abusive relationship is that you never know how bad their next attack will be. If the abuse gets out of hand then a victim will need to get medical attention and medication, but this won’t be as easy during the lockdown as public transport is prohibited and not every victim has a car. Health care services will be available during this time, but not every victim will always be able to access them with a controlling partner by their side.
Witnessing abuse can take a toll on children’s mental health
Children aren’t going to school and can’t spend time with their friends, so they’re forced to spend every moment with their family. So, if they stay in an abusive home – they’ll witness their parent being abused or they’ll get abused too. In both these instances, the short- and long-term effects are harmful on a child’s mental health. Studies show that some of these effects are depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem and a higher risk of repeating the cycle of abuse as an adult.
Our greatest wish is that the lives of women and children are kept safe during this lockdown. If you’re a victim of abuse or know someone that is and needs help, email [email protected].