Coping with COVID: adapting our domestic abuse services

For many lockdown has meant spending more time at home.

For someone living with domestic abuse this may mean being stuck in the house with an abusive person.

Since March we’ve seen a massive increase in referrals, and the government have responded to the national need by launching their domestic abuse campaign.

Unfortunately, many of our Derbyshire WISH support groups have had to stop due to COVID, but we’re finding new ways to reach people.

We adopted new ways of working, keeping in touch with people via email and creating virtual support networks.

One network has helped a group of women who’d moved on from abuse. A series of virtual coffee meetings allowed them to open up, speak to each other and share experiences. The group now carry on these sessions independently and hope to eventually be able to meet up in person.

Those still living in an abusive situation were confined to their homes and unable to find a safe space to talk to us. Colleagues often had to change their hours to offer support at a time that would work, when the children were in bed for example, or when their partner was at work.

Although some services had to change, emergency services continued and families have continued to be referred to us throughout lockdown. We took on ten new refuge flats during the first lockdown and new comers completed a two week isolation period in their new flat to keep everyone safe.

Our services are also supporting those having to isolate, by delivering food and chatting at a distance. Families fleeing domestic abuse often have to leave their support networks behind; from food bank parcels to general shopping, we’re doing what we can to help families during this tough time.

Our services may have had to adapt as we continue to deal with the consequences of COVID-19, but our dedication to those we support and their families will not waver. We will continue to work to support those who need our help.

Getting help and advice

Visit our domestic abuse page for more on the support we provide.