Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is urging the public to ‘Reach in’ to help victims of domestic violence.
PATRON of SafeLives, a UK-wide charity ‘dedicated to ending domestic violence’, the Duchess has highlighted the fact that “while many aspects of our lives are now slowly returning to some kind of normality, we must also remember there are those for whom the lockdown of fear and abuse remains,” in an article written for The Guardian.
She referred to “deeply troubling” statistics which show “an alarming rise in domestic abuse cases” since March, with a 20 per cent rise globally.
The Duches wrote: “Six months ago, our country went into lockdown. Almost immediately, we saw both the best and the worst of human behaviour. For many, charity truly began at home, with family members caring for shielding relatives, and neighbours pulling together in new and different ways.
“But for some, it was abuse, rather than charity, that began at home. In the UK, more than a third of specialist services have reported an increase in requests for their support. Yet nearly two-thirds of victims have felt unable to seek help, for fear of repercussions from their partner, or because of the restrictions of Covid-19. ”
She added that SafeLives has been undertaking an online survey of people living in abusive relationships over the past few months and the “responses have been heartbreaking.”
One of the women surveyed responded: “His emotional and verbal abuse is escalating the longer we’re isolated, and I’m concerned that mentally I won’t survive this.”
Other distressing comments include: “Every so often he gets on his high horse and pushes me or spits in my face and he shouts and scares us.”
“Psychologically I feel unsafe, being coercively controlled by my ex-husband as he has my daughter. He is using the Covid-19 situation to further control and making it difficult as I am in the vulnerable category too. I am powerless and have no-one to help me.”
The Duchess revealed that all too often, victms feel they have nowhere to turn.
“Far too often, those living with abuse do feel there is no one to help. I have learned how vital it is to spread the word about the help that is available. For any readers in that situation, please know that you are not alone.”
Earlier this year SafeLives launched the Reach In Campaign “as it is so hard for those living in an atmosphere of coercion and fear to reach out’.”
“Some of you might be worried about a friend or relation. In these situations a simple inquiry can be incredibly powerful,” wrote Camilla.
SafeLives provides guidance on how you can prepare, open a conversation gently, listen, reassure and support.
“After six months of lockdown, it is clear that Covid-19 is not the only pernicious disease that has been attacking our society. It is therefore vital that we continue to do everything we can to help them (victims of domestic abuse) in whatever way possible for as long as is necessary,” urged the Duchess.
For more information visit http://www.safelives.org.uk
*The Spanish government’s telephone helpline for victims of domestic violence, 016, is available 24 hours and won’t appear on the telephone’s last dialled number or on the bill.