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Covid-19: Information, guidance and resources to support you through the pandemic

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Live Fear Free: 0808 80 10 800

info@livefearfreehelpline.wales

Childline: 0800 1111.


One of the most negative consequences of the lockdowns in different countries has been a rise in domestic violence and abuse (DVA). In Wales, during the lockdown period, calls to the Wales national helpline Live Fear Free, rose by up to 49%, and call times trebled with those making contact to the helpline often reporting more frequent abuse with shorter escalation periods. Similarly, website visits to Live Fear Free increased. Figures from across the UK also showed a surge in calls and websites visits to specialist DVA services.

As lockdown restrictions in the UK and Wales ease, services are anticipating a surge in demand as opportunities for individuals to seek access to support increase.

Guidance for practitioners

Dr Sarah Wallace, a Senior Research Fellow at the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care at the University of South Wales who's experience of undertaking research with domestic abuse organisations and has previously worked in the third sector providing support for women and men experiencing domestic violence and abuse shares some guidance for practitioners to recognise and respond to DVA.

DVA is serious health and social care issue. Anyone can experience DVA regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, economic status or background.

To ensure individuals are safely supported, we have identified some resources for professionals.

The first two resources provide guidance for professionals to recognise and safely respond to DVA.

  • A ‘quick guide for social workers’ produced by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The guidance includes advice about asking someone about DVA, responding to a disclosure, and specialist services.
  • SafeLives, a UK wide domestic abuse charity, have developed the second resource ‘Getting it right first time’. Aimed at professionals who do not work in DVA services, it includes three steps ‘identify, ask, and act’ to help if you suspect someone you are working with or supporting is experiencing DVA.

Whilst the easing of lockdown restrictions and a move towards more people returning to work from furlough, it is important to acknowledge that there will still be those experiencing DVA who are at home (including those who have been made redundant/unemployed) as a result of the pandemic.

With more people returning to their place of work, there are increased opportunities for those who have been isolated with their abuser to disclose DVA. Some organisations may have their own DVA work policies to support staff. Other resources that may help employers and colleagues safely respond to DVA in the workplace.

Help and advice

If you or someone you know is suffering physical or emotional abuse at the hands of a partner the Live Fear Free helpline is available 24 hours a day – call free on 0808 8010 800 any time, if you can do it safely. You can also text 0786 007 7333, email at info@livefearfree.wales 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.

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