Safety, support and recovery

Identifying the needs of victims of domestic abuse in the new ‘normal’.

COVID-19 and the lockdowns introduced to minimize transmission have placed victims of domestic violence at greater risk. Domestic violence helplines in countries of lockdown have reported an increase in calls over this period. Many experts predict an increase in allegations and calls for support once lockdowns are removed and victims are able to get to a safe space to report incidents.

Governments across the region have been mindful of this and there are examples of police and other agencies being proactive in getting messages out to their populations about where they can access support during this period.

This is entirely consistent with the work being done across our region to improve its response to family violence. Countries have introduced legislation on this subject and continue to innovate in the development of services for victims. This paper is intended to help this by providing a perspective on the victim journey in cases of domestic violence. It sets out the key elements necessary to support the victim.

One impact of the pandemic will invariably be around utilising technology not just as a response to the restrictions introduced but as a way to enhance services to ensure the best possible experience. It will therefore be no surprise to see technology feature here but it should be seen in the context of what we can learn from the crisis, not simply a response to it.

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