There is never an excuse for domestic abuse

We have got to shine a light on domestic abuse during these dark times and emphasise that it's not about coronavirus, writes Sam Billingham.

Sam Billingham is an ambassador for The Haven in Wolverhampton, one of the largest refuge providers in the UK
Sam Billingham is an ambassador for The Haven in Wolverhampton, one of the largest refuge providers in the UK

Domestic abuse is already happening and has been happening long before this pandemic but no one is listening, which is why change isn't happening.

We cannot use coronavirus as an excuse for domestic abuse. The reality is where domestic abuse is concerned in regular times, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be a victim of it and two women each week in England and Wales are killed by a partner or former partner.

Home is not a safe place for everyone and as the country goes into lockdown there are going to be many people who are isolated from their support network with their abuser.

1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 lesbians and bisexuals, 1 in 5 children and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse at some time during their lifetime and during the Covid-19 we will see a spike in this dramatically. However, is extremely important that we do not blame Covid19 for domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse happens because abusers choose to abuse, no one chooses to be abused.

It is important that anyone in an abusive relationship is reassured that there is support out there and available to them during this pandemic. The newly appointed Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales has stated how helplines and services are doing everything they can behind the scenes and indeed they are.

Many agencies now offer online support, such as an email service and web chat. If anyone is in fear of their life, they are encouraged to call 999 but if they are too scared to speak, if they push 55 the operator is alerted and then the Police will respond to that call.

Where domestic abuse is concerned, there is no quick fix, there is no plaster to put over the pain that domestic abuse causes, this is an epidemic that is happening in our society and right now we have to take this crime seriously.

This is the perfect opportunity for bystanders not to stand by anymore and speak out if they fear that their neighbour is experiencing domestic abuse, just pick up the phone call the police anonymously because, potentially, you could be saving a life.

Even though we are experiencing a global pandemic, it’s important that those experiencing domestic abuse know they are not alone and that we are in it together. Don’t be afraid to reach out and seek support.

I am a survivor of domestic abuse and I run an online support group, a safe haven for those who have experienced domestic abuse to come together. You can contact me via my website www.sodahq.uk

The Haven, Wolverhampton 08000 194 2400

Mankind 01823 334 244

Womens Aid 0808 2000 247

Don’t suffer in silence, please speak out

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