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With the restrictions that were put into place to curb the spread of the coronavirus illness, domestic violence rates have increased significantly worldwide. In fact, the UK National Domestic Abuse helpline saw an increase of 25 percent in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown began on March 23. France also saw a 30 percent increase in calls for help during the first week of social restrictions. Meanwhile, there was a 50 percent increase in calls to domestic abuse charities in Brazil during the first few days of the lockdown.
The situation is worrying globally as the coronavirus lockdowns have been a living nightmare for those living with their abusers. It is a disturbing global concern that the United Nations is trying to stop. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, urged all governments “to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national plans for COVID-19” on April 6.
“The current surge in cases of domestic violence is devastatingly undeniable and so it is vital that victims of abuse know that they are not alone - as human beings we are all deserving of safety, respect and compassion. Women’s Aid has a fantastic section on their website with a guide on how best to support victims of abuse safely and they also provide access to help that victims themselves can utilise. The website has an emergency exit button that will leave no trace on your computer history if you are concerned that an abuser may be watching,” said Clodagh Halliday, the Women's Rep for Equality for every woman at Strathclyde.
According to Clodagh, the most effective way to raise awareness about the domestic violence surge, is through its multiple communication and social media platforms. “If victims and survivors of domestic violence can be made aware of the different resources/organisations they have available to them, then the numerous lives can be saved and victims will know that they are not alone in this unprecedented time,” added Clodagh.
Thus, no matter the circumstances, you can still ask for help. Strath Union has compiled some resources for those dealing with domestic violence, should you need advice or assistance.
It is important to know that it is okay if you are unsure or are wondering if what you are experiencing is domestic violence or assault, including coercive control. Many abusers use techniques such as threats, emotional manipulation, and gaslighting to reduce the likelihood of someone accessing support, asking questions, or to convince them that what they are experiencing is normal or unique only to them. Any of the organisations listed below will listen and talk to you about what’s happening, they will believe you, and they will support you to make a decision that’s right for you.
What do they do?
Strathclyde Students’ Union advice service supporting students with any issues they are experiencing, including access to emergency accommodation, funding support, and specialist service signposting.
Appointment booking: https://www.strathunion.com/advice/arrangeappointment/
10am to 4pm Monday to Thursday.
Amina (The Muslim Women’s Resource Centre)
Amina run services including a helpline for Muslim women across Scotland which offers culturally and faith-sensitive advice for those experiencing issues including domestic violence.
Direct support offered in English, Arabic, Punjabi, and Urdu - other languages can be supported through translation services upon request.
Phone: 0808 801 0301
Online chat: via website
Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm and Wednesdays 6pm - 9pm for young (aged 16-25) Muslim women.
FearFree is a Scottish organisation providing support for people experiencing domestic violence who are male (including trans men) or anyone who is LGBT+. Some things they will support with include safety planning, practical support, and emotional support. Contact is via referral and not suitable for emergency situations.
Phone: 0131 624 7270
Or make a referral online at https://fearfree.scot/make-a-referral/
Standard working hours.
National charity working towards the elimination of violence against LGBT+ people. Delivers a national LGBT+ domestic violence helpline.
Phone: 0800 999 5428
Online chat: via website
Phone: 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
10am to 8pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
1pm to 5pm on a Tuesday is a trans specific service.
Online chat: 5-8pm Wednesday and Thursday.
Hemat Gryffe Womens’ Aid
Support for Asian, Black and Minority Ethnic women in Scotland experiencing domestic violence. Comprehensive advice and support available, including safety, childcare rights, immigration, with support available in English, Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu.
Phone: 07792 017 442 / 07879 898 261
Phone: 9am to 5pm.
Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis
The Connect Live service currently available offers support for girls and women aged over 13 who have experienced rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse, whether these are recent experiences or not.
Phone: 08088 00 00 14
Skype: Glasgow Clyde Rape Crisis
11am - 4pm Monday to Friday.
National domestic violence charity offering a huge amount of information, support and advice for those who are or suspect they are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, sexual violence, honour-based violence, human trafficking and modern slavery, and female genital mutilation.
Phone: 0808 2000 247
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
Offers confidential advice and support to anyone with experience of domestic violence or forced marriage and their friends, family, or other supporters.
Support offered via phone (including text relay) online chat, and email.
Phone: 0800 027 1234
Online chat: via website
24/7 via phone.
Silent Solution via Police Scotland
This is a resource offered by the police for those in danger who need help from the police but are not able to talk for any reason.
Police will not automatically respond to silent 999 calls, but initial call responders will prompt you to cough, tap the phone, and hit the numbers ‘55’ on your phone for the call to be transferred to a police operator who will ask simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to try and get help to you.
Visit https://policeconduct.gov.uk and search ‘silent solution’
Standard emergency services call on 999.
LGBT+ support, providing information, support and advice for LGBT+ people and anyone with any questions or issues around their sexuality or gender identity. No topic is off-limits, but some things they speak to people about include domestic violence, family issues, safe sex and sexual health, coming out, and local support groups.
Support offered via phone, online chat, or email.
Phone: 0300 330 0630
Phone 10am - 10pm daily
Written by Sara Galy, Content Writer at Strath Union.