We are living in extraordinary times and the coronavirus pandemic has affected each and every one of us …
Lockdown works better for some than others, but the essential message is the same for everyone – staying at home is best. Stay home, stay safe.
But what if home doesn’t feel safe?
Sandra moved in with her brother when her husband died. The house is big enough and, as they’re both retired, it made sense to pool their resources. But he controls everything, making all the household decisions and bullying her into handing over her pension. Now, as they’re both over 70, they’ve been self-isolating, and it’s become intolerable. Sandra isn’t allowed any contact with others at all, while he chooses what they watch on television and what they eat when he does the online shop. If she objects or makes a suggestion, he gets angry and she’s frightened.
Jackie hasn’t had a job since having the children. Her husband says she’s useless and no-one would ever employ her. She likes being at home while he’s out at work though; it’s a respite from his constant belittling and put-downs. But now he’s struggling to work from home and blaming her. Why can’t she keep the children out of his way? Why can’t she keep them quiet? He tells her over and over how worthless and incompetent she is, and although the children haven’t heard him, she’s permanently tense and they sense that.
Matt’s partner, Jason, hurts him regularly, punching and kicking, often when he’s been drinking. Sometimes it happens when Matt doesn’t feel like sex, sometimes when he’s brought the ‘wrong thing’ back from the supermarket, and sometimes just because, Jason says, ‘he feels like it’ and Matt should ‘fight back and not be such a wimp’. It’s been worse in lockdown and Matt can’t hide the bruises now. It took a while for his family to accept his relationship and he can’t admit he’s unhappy.
This crisis has made them feel especially vulnerable, but they don’t have to ‘sit it out’.
Help is available
Local domestic abuse outreach services and Citizens Advice have advisers working from home to offer practical help and advice to those who feel unsafe, and, if necessary, a place of refuge. If home doesn’t feel safe for you, contact us (details below), and, if it’s difficult for you to make that call, be aware that Boots pharmacies are providing a ‘safe space’ in all of their 2400 stores for you to do so. And if you feel in immediate danger, please always dial 999.
Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.
We’re here to help.
Contact South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service on 01483 898884
In an emergency always dial 999
Contact Citizens Advice on 0344 848 7969 to speak to an adviser
Email: Use the Citizens Advice Waverley e-mail form on www.citizensadvicewaverley.org.uk