COVID-19: Isolated Not Alone
Women and their families need our support through the Coronavirus pandemic
Domestic violence is set to increase through the pandemic. Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However it can put victims and survivors of domestic violence in potentially dangerous situations, trapped in homes with abusers, isolated from the people and the resources that could help them.
This means that women will be disproportionately impacted by coronavirus, and as NGOs, agencies and Governments rally to respond, we’re doing what we can to make a positive difference.
That’s why The Avon Foundation for Women is pledging $1m to front-line services to support women and children in need and at risk.
Domestic violence is a silent issue, hidden behind close doors. Across the world through our network we’re signposting where to go to for help and how to tell if a loved on needs support.
Add your voice to the campaign
We have launched Isolated Not Alone to help raise awareness that this silent epidemic can be exacerbated by isolation during the global COVID-19 crisis, and signpost where to go for help and how to identify and support those at risk.
We are also calling on governments around the world to expand funding and resources to deal with the increased incidence of violence.
We need you to help us amplify the message! For more informaiton about how you can share the #IsolatedNotAlone call to action on your social media channels today, visit our campaign page.
The guidance below, reprinted with permission from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, explains the risks and how to get help.
Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors of gender-based violence, staying home may not be the safest option.
When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a global health concern such as COVID-19.
How COVID-19 could uniquely impact Survivors
Abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants.
- Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.
- Abusive partners may withhold insurance cards, threaten to cancel insurance, or prevent survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.
- Programmes that serve survivors may be significantly impacted –- refuges and shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether. Survivors may also fear entering shelter because of being in close quarters with groups of people.
A safety plan is a personalised, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Having a safety plan can help you to protect yourself during this stressful time.
Because there may be limited refuge/shelter availability due to COVID-19, consider alternatives such as staying with family or friends, staying in motels, or sleeping in your vehicle. Be extra mindful of good hygiene practices if you’re leaving as well – wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, minimise contact with surfaces that other people have had contact with, etc.
You can learn more about safety plans and find an interactive guide to safety planning using the dropdown menu below.
COVID-19 is causing uncertainty for many people, but getting through this time while experiencing abuse can feel really overwhelming. Taking time for your health and wellness can make a big difference in how you feel. Learn more about how to build in self-care while staying safe in the dropdown menu below.
If you’re a friend or family member of someone experiencing abuse, you may not be able to visit them in person if you live in an area where there are COVID-19 cases. Seeing someone you care about being hurt is stressful. Remind yourself that you can’t make decisions for someone else, but you can encourage your loved one to think about their wellbeing, safety plan and practice self-care while they are in their home.
While people are encouraged to stay at home, you may feel isolated from your friends and family. Even if you are isolated, try to maintain social connections online or over the phone, if it is safe to do so, and try to stick to your daily routines as much as possible.
For any victims and survivors who need support, we encourage you to reach out to hotlines and support services in your country. Vital support services like the The National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US and Refuge in the UK operate in most countries. Access more information via the dropdown menu below.