There have been positives during the lockdowns, such as families spending more time together. But…
We are faced with a world trauma. Being at home and feeling safe should be a priority during this time. Safety and hope are reassuring but, unfortunately for some, being at home during this lockdown is unsafe and dangerous. Being forced to live with a parent or partner – male or female – who is abusive could be be a living hell.Abuse may include emotional, physical, sexual or financial, and can lead to feelings of terror, confusion and entrapment with someone who manipulates, controls and who can be dangerous and life threatening.
Abuse, domestic violence and related injuries generally escalate and, after a short time, victims can develop trauma symptoms which are debilitating and all-consuming. The impact of abuse can leave lasting emotional and physical scars in adults and children.Quite often when there is an Imbalance of power in a relationship, a trauma bond develops ( Stockholm syndrome). Helping someone leave an abusive situation has to be dealt with sensitively in order to keep the survivor safe and alive. Trauma bonds are difficult attachments to break, but with the right psychological and practical support a survivor can heal.
Judgments and blaming are not helpful for a victim such as “why didn’t you leave?” or “why didn’t you fight back?” Instead, what can be helpful is: allowing a survivor to talk about their feelings; not forcing an adult to leave an abusive relationship; beIng supportive without judging or blaming. If a child is at risk this should be taken seriously and reported to the police
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you/they can call 999. If you are on a mobile it is possible to use a silent system pressing 55 after 999, to connect you to the police.
One charity reported calls had gone up by 25% during the lockdown, and this does not include those people who can’t report.
Please see below some helpful resources from Women’s Aid, the government and the NSPCC:
Julie Luscombe MBACP