Crisis situations can result in an increase in incidents of domestic violence and the home may not always be a place of safety.
People could be at a higher risk of abuse, violence and psychological torment while they are self-isolating and while the stay-at-home rules are in place to reduce the virus from spreading. It may also be more difficult for victims to escape or seek support.
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt has also urged people in Wales to look out for each other to support those who may be at risk of domestic violence.
In December, the Welsh Government announced funding to tackle violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence – £1.2m was dedicated to helping Welsh Women’s Aid and regional domestic abuse services to keep survivors safe, and to provide for needs which can’t be met by refuges.
The Welsh Government is allocating £200,000 to help provide refuges and support services with:
- beds and mattresses to ensure there are sufficient beds for survivors in refuges
- white goods to ensure there is no risk of cross-contamination if there are consequences from having to isolate due to the virus
- indoor and outdoor play equipment to mitigate the issue of school closures and social distancing, which is preventing access to external playgrounds
- IT equipment for children, young people and adults who have to study at home during isolation, or to enable staff to keep in touch with victims and survivors
- soap and hand sanitiser to help maintain good hygiene
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt, said:
Welsh Government is determined to tackle the scourge of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence, especially during this very difficult time.
I am urging communities across Wales to look out for each other. These are scary times for all of us, but those at risk of abuse could be hanging on to by a thread.
The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with Welsh Women’s Aid, specialist domestic abuse and sexual violence services, communities, local authorities and health boards to protect victims and survivors and to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence. We welcome the support of regional authorities and communities to help us achieve this.
If you or someone you know is suffering physical or emotional abuse at the hands of a partner, here are a number of ways to get help.
The Live Fear Free helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – call free on 0808 8010 800 any time, if you can do it safely. You can also text 0786 007 7333, email [email protected] or webchat.
If you can’t talk in safety, but you need help immediately, police forces across Wales will respond to a silent 999 call – dial 999 followed by 55 to indicate that you can’t talk, but need help.