Please note: You will find a range of domestic abuse support resources at the end of this page
“Sadly domestic abuse, pandemic aside, is the biggest issue affecting women and children in this country and it has been for decades.”Lisa King, Refuge
In the first two weeks of the lockdown which began on 23rd March 2020, calls to domestic abuse helplines shot up 25 percent according to the charity Refuge. And since then, according to Lisa King of Refuge, the situation still hasn’t improved:
“Sadly domestic abuse, pandemic aside, is the biggest issue affecting women and children in this country and it has been for decades. And what frighteningly has been seen in the pandemic and these many months of lockdown is that actually domestic abuse has increased, the demand for our services, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline that Refuge runs, and increasingly our front line services, as women are now able to access support….
“Certainly lockdown has exacerbated and made worse domestic abuse and that can be understood when you think what domestic abuse is, it’s all about having power and control over another person, being isolated.”
Each year nearly two million people in the UK experience some form of domestic abuse. Women are twice as likely as men to experience it – an estimated 4.6 million women (28% of the adult population) have experienced domestic abuse at some point since the age of 16 – and women are more likely to experience high risk or severe domestic abuse than men. 88% of high-risk victims experience multiple forms of abuse, including physical and sexual abuse, harassment and stalking, and coercive control (jealous and controlling behaviours).
Some of these statistics you may already know, but did you know that, on average, high-risk victims live with domestic abuse for 2.3 years and medium risk victims for 3 years before getting help? And each year there are over one million calls to the police in England and Wales about domestic abuse – that equates to an average of one call every 30 seconds.
As mentioned, families may live with domestic abuse for a significant period before getting effective help. And, even if the ‘safe’ parent leaves, children are often used by the perpetrator to continue the abuse through the family courts and, if no ‘findings’ are made against the abusive parent, through unsafe child contact orders.
Even if children aren’t involved, there are many other factors that prevent a victim from leaving or mean they return to their abuser after leaving. It may not even be apparent to the victim that a relationship is abusive, which is likely if the person has never been in a serious relationship before. Or they may be afraid of the abuser, and fear the consequences for themselves and/or others if they disclose the abuse. The victim may not even know where to turn for help. And leaving a perpetrator can make things worse and put victims at higher risk of harm.
Domestic Abuse Resources
It is for the above reasons that our branch has pulled together a range of internal and external resources to support anyone who is experiencing, or has experienced, domestic abuse. They are also for anyone concerned about someone in this situation. We hope you find these resources useful.
Domestic Abuse: Protecting and Supporting Staff and Students (Guidance for Managers, Personal Tutors, Supervisors and Staff) – This guidance has been developed by the University of Leeds. It is one of a suite of guidance documents rooted in the university’s health and wellbeing strategy, which aims to provide support for staff and students experiencing a range of challenging issues – including domestic abuse – that may impact on their health and ability to work or study.
Leeds Domestic Violence Service – LDVS works with women, men and families in Leeds, offering emergency accommodation, support, advice and advocacy.
Domestic Violence and Abuse and Coronavirus (Leeds City Council) – a site created by Leeds City Council to support victims of domestic abuse and violence including: you, children and young people, and people you know. It also contains advice for employers, practitioners and offers help for perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Leeds Women’s Aid – Leeds Women’s Aid (LWA) is an independent charity providing services to women and children affected by Domestic Violence and Abuse. It provides a range of services for vulnerable women and families who are victims and survivors of: domestic, sexual and honour based violence and abuse; forced marriage; trafficking; stalking and harassment.
Women’s Lives Leeds – an organisation which aims to ensure that the most vulnerable woman and girls have improved and extended access to the services and support they want, when they choose. Their site includes some good local domestic abuse resources including DA/DV support groups and legal support.
Breathing Space: Domestic Abuse Project (Leeds) – Breathing Space is a domestic abuse project delivered by Women’s Health Matters. The project provides group work for women who have experienced domestic violence and trauma, have Social Work involvement due to domestic abuse, or require access to counselling.
ManKind: Male Victims of Domestic Abuse – Runs a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and male victims of domestic violence across the UK. It also supports men suffering from domestic abuse from their current or former wife or partner (including same-sex partner).
Domestic violence and abuse: resources for LGBT people – part of the Stonewall charity, providing a range of information and support to domestic abuse victims across the LGBT community.
Supporting your child with domestic abuse/violence – provides advice and information on places to get help if your child has witnessed or experienced domestic violence.
National Domestic Abuse Helpline – a freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Refuge, a DA charity which supports women and children.
NHS – getting help for domestic violence and abuse – how to recognise and get support for domestic abuse and violence, contains lots of information and details of support organisations – provided by the NHS.
Domestic abuse: get help during the Coronavirus outbreak – details of how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse – contains links to a range of support organisations – provided by the government.
National Centre for Domestic Violence – a one-stop-shop where those in an abusive situation can access quick and free legal support.
Citizen’s Advice: Domestic Violence and Abuse – provides a comprehensive list of domestic abuse support organisations for women, men, those in the LBGT community and disabled people.