The last lockdown saw a big increase in reports of domestic abuse to the Police, Gef has spoken to the Constabulary, Space4Action and Victim Support to outline what help is available for anyone living through abuse at any time, but especially during this lockdown.

While lockdown is needed to control the spread of Covid, it can also isolate victims of domestic abuse from their friends and family and give their abuser more control over them.

Inspector Gavin Callow told Gef that the police ‘treat domestic violence as a priority offence at any time and it is even more important that we do all we can during lockdown. Like last time we work with places like supermarkets on helping to allow safe space for victims to report issues.’

Victim Support

Paula Gelling from Victim Support said that throughout lockdown Victim Support will generally undertake phone contact or whats app video call rather than our normal face to face appointments. However, in exceptional cases, and with a risk assessment, they might undertake face to face, socially distanced contact.

She added: ‘we may not be able to respond as quickly as normal but we WILL get back to you. We are here to help and we want to help, so don’t be a stranger.

‘If you are female and in an abusive situation and you need to leave your home, the Refuge is available even during lockdown. Yours and your children’s safety is a priority.’

Space4Action

The Space4Action team told Gef that the biggest thing to stress is that domestic abuse is not caused by lockdown and lockdown does not create abusive people. If someone is experiencing domestic abuse at the moment, they were more than likely already experiencing it before the Covid-19 restrictions, the difference is that their opportunities to get away from the abuse are much more limited during lockdown and things may escalate. 

They explained: ‘For example, getting out and about taking the kids to school might give a victim a daily break from the abusive behaviour, contact with friendly faces, and a bit of breathing space. Or maybe the time that the abusive partner is usually out at work gives the family respite from the abuse, but now the abuser is with them, in the house, 24/7 which is much more stressful and potentially, much more dangerous. Equally for some people going to work gets them away from the abusive home and work is their “safe place”. With homeworking that respite and sanctuary is taken from them.

‘Remember that the victim is the expert in their own situation, try to open up the choices they have but don’t tell them what they should do, and above all, never tell someone to leave – or at least not without a detailed safety plan and an understanding of just how dangerous leaving is. Abuse does NOT end when a victim leaves, it usually escalates, and most victims who are killed are killed in the 12 months AFTER they leave their partner. If someone leaves it needs to be done safely and with support.’

For more information on the work done by the Police, Victim Support or Space4Action, visit: 

www.iompolice.im www.victimsupport.im  www.space4action.info

USEFUL NUMBERS

  • Victim Support: 679950

  • Alcohol services -Motiv8 general line: 627656 text 426400

  • Drug services: 627650 text 496048

  • Graih: 304381

  • Housing Matters: 675507

  • Womens Aid/Refuge: 677900

  • GamCare Isle of Man: 622011 text 498985

  • Drug and Alcohol Team – (DAT): 617889

  • CRUSE bereavement care: 668191

  • Police: 999