UN Women UK

UN Women UK To Set Up Platform For Abused Women During Lockdown

In Health & Well Being by Claire Barnett, UN Women UK Executive Director

UN Women UK To Set Up Platform For Abused Women During Lockdown

Based upon their esearch and programming work on domestic violence, and the complications when social isolation is added into the mix, UN Women UK to set up Everyday Allyship platform, amidst the potential rise of Domestic Violence during the isolation phase of Covid-19.

Isolation As An Abusive Tactic

Isolation from support networks is a key tactic used by perpetrators of abuse, and has dangerous consequences. Removing access to friends, family and weakening support networks enables an abusive partner to gain increased control over a victim. Enforced isolation due to other means will aggravate relationships where this is already happening.

Societal Stress And Violence

Evidence is clear that when societies are under any kind of additional strain domestic violence rates rise. We see this all over the world in terms of resource scarcity, conflict, natural disaster, even football matches from home teams. We see this happening all over the world – stress of many kinds from disruption of routine to economic hardship increases rates of domestic violence. So when compounded with families being stuck at home, we should be prepared for the risk of violence against women and girls to spike.

Financial Independence

Losing the ability to work, especially for those without savings and on zero-hours contracts, could cut off the only access to financial independence women have. Economic abuse, which refers to restricting access to basic needs and denying someone their right to improving their economic status, restricts women’s choices. At this time when many women’s jobs are under threat, particularly those who do not have the luxury of continuing to earn an income while self-isolating, the resulting financial pressure they are likely to experience is a threat to their safety as well as their independence.  A lack of financial independence is a primary reason that women cannot escape violent relationships, so the impact of a reduced ability for a woman to earn her own money is potentially huge.

Mental Health

Domestic violence has been shown to have negative effects on mental health, self-esteem, and more. Women are three times more likely to experience poor mental health if they have been subjected to violence). Women who already struggle with poor mental health are also more likely to become subjected to violence later, and as a result of being more vulnerable. So it is a vicious cycle.

Caring Responsibilities

Women shoulder the vast burden of unpaid care work around the world, so are likely to take on the majority of domestic responsibility while children are at home and parents are in need of support. Women already struggling at home will find they have less time for themselves and more reliance on them from others.  Where we shared responsibilities in the home and allowed women to access a greater range of choices in work and society, rates of violence tended to fall as the sharing had a knock-on effect.

Public services are going to be increasingly stretched beyond their means, so there is a role for everyone to play in reducing the impact of social distancing, reaching out with emotional and practical support, and acting fast to any signs of abuse. Technology provides a lifeline to the vulnerable to have equal access to safety, health and freedom – and this is particularly important at difficult times such as this.  Find out more about UN Women UK  Everyday Allyship platform.

Image: Queen21

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