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Domestic Abuse in the time of Coronavirus

By: Sara McHaffie

As countries around the world have been closing down services, businesses and borders, the Coronavirus pandemic has been difficult on everyone.

People are being asked by governments to stay at home. Face to face support is not as readily available, more staff than usual may be absent from each service which will affect the capacity of organisations to deliver services in the way they usually do.

This will affect all of us but it especially affects anyone who is in crisis. Those who are living with domestic abuse and/or coercive control are at higher risk.

A woman in pyjamas. Image by Laura Dodsworth for Zero Tolerance
Source:  Laura Dodsworth for Zero Tolerance

Of course, it’s always hard to be in a situation where you are suffering abuse, but at this time the ways of coping you’ve developed might not be possible. It might be harder than usual for you to keep yourself safe in the ways you’ve developed before the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you feel at a higher risk than usual, that is all the more reason to reach out for support. Please prioritise your safety and remember that there are people working hard to help, who are trained to help you and understand your situation. 

It’s important to know that if you’re aware someone is in this situation, or it’s affecting you personally, the organisations which exist to provide support are still running. You can still talk to the police, Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis and many other organisations via telephone.

It might be hard for you to contact a support organisation if you’re at home with family, without any privacy.  

In an emergency, please call 999. Otherwise, organisations that can help include:

Police Scotland

Rape Crisis Scotland

Scottish Women’s Aid

Shakti Women’s Aid

and many other services that are operating new ways of support – through online chat, helplines and email.

Amina MWRC’s Helpline is also available, Monday through Friday, 10-4 via freephone (0808-801-0301) or online chat on our website.

It might take a little longer than usual to get a response, but you are very important to the people on the other end of that phone line/e-mail chain. They want you to have a life where you feel safe.