To stop the spread of COVID-19, we are asked to stay at home. But home isn’t a safe place for everyone. With victims increasingly trapped at home with their abusers, global domestic violence cases are on the rise.
That’s why NO MORE is teaming up with the The Body Shop for #IsolatedNotAlone—a campaign that aims to increase awareness of the hidden dangers to victims during lockdown. If you are being abused yourself, or if you suspect that a loved one is being abused, there is help available. Below are tips and resources for both victims and bystanders during this difficult, dangerous time.
Advice for Victims
If you fear that your life or safety are in immediate danger, call 911.
If you’re in an abusive relationship, know it’s not your fault—now or ever. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, and love.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may be isolated, but you do not have to go through it alone. Trusted friends and family can help, even from a distance. Make sure you have a key contact that knows your situation and checks upon you regularly.
Create a code word, phrase or visual signal that can be given to trusted friends to make them aware if you are in danger and need help.
Domestic abuse can mean physical harm and bruises, but it’s also verbal and emotional abuse designed to bully, intimidate and degrade. Often it can start with verbal abuse and then escalate to become more violent. Being informed about domestic abuse and available services is key to keeping safe. Even during this COVID-19 crisis, help is still available. If you’re experiencing any type of abuse, find out about supports and services in your community. Learn more.
Developing a plan to leave may seem harder at this time of social distancing, but it is still possible. Shelters remain open and family or friends may have extra space where you could stay in quarantine.
Even if you feel trapped at home during COVID-19, develop a plan to try to stay safe. Consider updating the family member or friend you trust most, deciding where you’ll go first, taking an emergency number with you, and having essential items ready in advance such as a form of ID, a change of clothes, and money if possible and anything else most important to you. Remember to turn location services off on your mobile. Learn more here.
In an abusive relationship, your phone can be your lifeline. Keep your phone charged, on hand at all times, know who to call in case of emergency and turn your location services off.
Advice for Bystanders
Domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men. Even if you aren’t directly impacted, the chances are high that you have a friend, family member, or coworker who’s been affected. We can all play a role in looking out for each other and preventing violence.
Recognizing the signs of domestic violence is an important first step to taking action to prevent it. Follow your instincts. If a situation feels wrong to you, it probably is. Ask yourself “If I don’t act, could the situation get worse?” IF YES, then determine the best way to intervene. Get more tips here.
If you see or hear what you think might be an abusive situation, try to figure out how to intervene safely. But if the situation seems dangerous, don’t handle it yourself. Get help. Learn how here.
If a friend or loved one confides in you that they are in an abusive relationship, create a code word or sign that they can use to let you know if the situation becomes more dangerous and help is needed.
Whilst supporting a victim advise them to develop a plan to stay safe that may include knowing where to go if they have to leave, key items to take, money and having emergency numbers for help. More information here.
Abuse doesn’t always leave physical bruises. Verbal and emotional abuse is still domestic violence and has a longstanding impact.It can include name-calling, criticizing and demeaning someone in order to frighten, humiliate, and diminish their self worth and sense of safety. Learn more about healthy and unhealthy relationships. More information here.
You can help prevent domestic violence before it starts by teaching kids that relationships should be based on mutual respect, trust, equality, and honesty. Utilize this time when many families are home together to start or continue the conversation. Learn more here.