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UK News Jess Phillips: Hotels need to house domestic violence victims during the coronavirus lockdown

16:15  26 march  2020
16:15  26 march  2020 Source:   inews.co.uk

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Domestic violence affects more than a million women in the UK every year. And now we are in Victims are seeing all their options for help and protection evaporating. Many would normally wait to Emotional support will be provided for as long as it is needed including accompanying a victim to

People experiencing domestic violence in the lockdown period can be assured that crisis services will be available. Both Women’s Refuge and Shine have joined a working group to Think of all the ways that your neighbour might need your support – that’s what we all need to be thinking about right now.”

Jess Phillips posing for the camera © Provided by The i

Every day of this pandemic brings new issues and concerns for us all. It is a beast with many heads and the country is doing it’s best to battle them. There are new problems I hadn’t thought of before this unique moment. And then there are the issues that are as old as time, but that this crisis will exaggerate and magnify.

a living room filled with furniture and a large window © Provided by The i

Most of us have felt anxiety, fear or concern at what the next few weeks and months will bring.

But for people living with a domestic abuser, the stress will be unbearable. What happens to those for whom "stay at home" means they are trapped with the person they are most frightened of?

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If a resident gets sick, they would need to isolate themselves to a room or area of the facility, Roy Comeau said. With everyone in the province told to stay at home, victims of domestic violence could face even more danger, isolated at home with a perpetrator who may no longer be going to work.

We need to be aware of how this may impact victims and perpetrators of domestic violence as well as Here are a few things that we thought might be useful for people to consider during the Where there is not a complete lockdown and people are still able to leave their houses to go for a walk if

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We already know from the experience of China that rates of domestic abuse increase dramatically during a lockdown. There, calls to the domestic abuse hotlines doubled in some locations, tripled in others. Early reporting from America shows that experiences of domestic violence are increasing just as rapidly as Covid-19 is spreading through the population.

There are many reasons why a lockdown will increase rates of domestic abuse - some obvious, some less so.

Being largely locked indoors with a partner can be a cause for disputes in even the most harmonious of relationships. It’s a situation most of us are not accustomed to and which will throw up new and challenging situations. For couples with children, the closure of schools will be an added stress-factor: domestic abuse increases during the summer months partly because children are trapped at home with an abusive parent.

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Domestic violence hotlines see a surge in calls across the country as more people are told to stay Domestic violence hotlines seeing an increase in call volumes amid lockdowns Seattle Police Dep. reported a 23% increase of domestic violence -related events Its website warns that abusers may assert control over their victims during the coronavirus

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But there are also specific Covid-19 factors which could lead to an epidemic of abuse in the coming months.

Every one of those beds offered to a woman fleeing domestic abuse is a bed of sanctuary, security, and of hope (Photo: Pixabay)

Not only has the Government mandated that we stay in our homes; many women will simply feel unable to step outside their front door because they fear contracting or spreading the virus. One caller to a hotline in California said that although she had been strangled that evening by her partner, she wouldn’t go to ER because she didn’t want to catch Covid-19. Similarly, those suffering domestic abuse might be unwilling to seek refuge with their parents, not wanting to put their elderly family at risk.

Women living with a domestic abuser urgently need to be provided with places of sanctuary that they can escape to during the coming months.

That is why, along with the cross-party group Compassion in Politics, Southall Black Sisters, and the Jo Cox Foundation, I am writing to the major hotel chains asking them to please provide beds for women (and men too of course – but we need to recognise that the vast majority of domestic abuse cases involve male on female violence) who need to escape a domestic abuser during the lockdown.

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We need to be there to maintain a high level of support so they don’t expose themselves to risk with their perpetrator. Ms Gregory said this was still the case in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak but it was now increasingly difficult to house women because the local authority office is closed so

Police urge delivery drivers to report signs of domestic violence during visits to homes as forces warn of a rise in incidents during coronavirus lockdown . Police bosses claim there has been an increase in domestic abuse incidents. Cumbria Constabulary chief asked carers and delivery drivers to flag signs.

One of the major reasons why women do not leave an abusive partner or husband is because they simply do not have an alternative place to stay. A decade of austerity has led to the closure of many women’s refuges and those that are still operating are at capacity. Alternatives like a parental home or neighbour’s spare room are likely to be closed off at this time because of the spread of the virus.

Hotels could become the answer to the looming epidemic of domestic violence. They could provide a place of safety at a time these women and children most need it.

Gary Neville has already made available the rooms in his hotel chain to NHS staff who need somewhere to rest if their family contracts Covid-19. Sadiq Khan is also trialling using hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness so that they have the option to self-isolate. There are an estimated 730,000 hotel rooms in the UK. Every one of those beds offered to a woman fleeing domestic abuse is a bed of sanctuary, security, and of hope.

Across the UK we are witnessing an incredible collective effort to help one another, protect one another, and care for one another. Ideas that a few weeks ago would have been dismissed out of hand are now being introduced without opposition. I am asking our hotel chains to show the same compassion, the same vision, and the same leadership for women who need their help who will otherwise go through this very foreboding period of our history alone, isolated, and in fear.

As each day brings a new issue or problem to face or deal with, so does it bring a new hope, idea or solution we hadn’t thought of before. All of us are in this together. But the weight of this crisis and terrible disease will fall on the shoulders of some more than others. We all have decisions to make about what role we play in the coming weeks and months, and what we can do to help the people that will need it the most.

Jess Phillips is the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley

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