Many people who are in abusive or violent situations are now more trapped and isolated than ever. This is one of the less spoken about and unseen consequences of COVID-19 and, unfortunately, it’s a trend that’s being experienced worldwide.
- In Brazil a state-run drop-in center has already seen a 40-50% surge in domestic violence cases that it attributes to coronavirus isolation.*1
- In Australia there has been a 75% rise in Google searches for help since the start of the lockdown.*2
- In Hubei province of China, domestic violence reports to police more than tripled during the lockdown in February, compared to the previous year.*1
- In just a few days, Catalan authorities in Spain reported a 20% increase in calls to a domestic violence helpline.*1
Domestic violence can affect anyone, anywhere. If lockdown remains in place for 6 months, 31 million additional gender-based violence cases can be expected.*3 We need to do something about it.
Gender based violence is a human rights violation that we first fought against in 1994 with our domestic violence campaign in Canada. We went on to campaign globally against domestic violence between 2003 and 2008 with Stop Violence in the Home. Then in 2009 we launched the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People.
TIME TO SPEAK
Each of our Natura &Co sister companies (Avon, Aesop and Natura) are also campaigning this important issue. We are using our global reach and influence to raise awareness of the issue, and get support to help protect women and people at risk everywhere. We’ll share information and advice to women experiencing domestic violence, and help support women’s services. We stand in solidarity with those isolated with an abuser right now: We are here, and we support you. You are not alone. We see you and we hear you.
- If you’re in an abusive relationship, know it’s not your fault – now or ever. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and love.
- If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may be isolated, but you do not have to go through it alone. Trusted friends and family can help, even from a distance. Make sure you have a key contact that knows your situation and checks upon you regularly.
- Create a code word, phrase or visual signal that can be given to trusted friends to make them aware if you are in danger and need help.
- Domestic abuse can mean physical harm and bruises, but it’s also verbal and emotional abuse designed to bully, intimidate and degrade. Often it can start with verbal abuse and then escalate to become more violent. Being informed about domestic abuse and available services is key to keeping safe. Even during this COVID-19 crisis, help is still available. If you’re experiencing any type of abuse, find out about support and services in your community.
- Developing a plan to leave may seem harder at this time of social distancing, but it is still possible. Shelters remain open and family or friends may have extra space where you could stay in quarantine.
- Even if you feel trapped at home during COVID-19, develop a plan to try to stay safe. Consider updating the family member or friend you trust most, deciding where you’ll go first, taking an emergency number with you, and having essential items ready in advance – such as a form of ID, a change of clothes, money if possible and anything else most important to you. Remember to turn location services off on your mobile.
- In an abusive relationship, your phone can be your lifeline. Keep your phone charged, on hand at all times, and know who to call in case of emergency.
- If you are in immediate danger, contact emergency services.
- Domestic violence affects almost 1 in 3 women worldwide.*4 and many men. Even if you aren’t directly impacted, the chances are high that you have a friend, family member, or co-worker who’s been affected. We can all play a role in looking out for each other and preventing violence.
- Recognizing the signs of domestic violence is an important first step to taking action to prevent it. Follow your instincts. If a situation feels wrong to you, it probably is. Ask yourself, “if I don’t act, could the situation get worse?” If the answer is a yes, then determine the best way to intervene. Get more tips here.
- If you see or hear what you think might be an abusive situation, try to figure out how to intervene safely. But if the situation seems dangerous, don’t handle it yourself. Get help from emergency services. Learn how here.
- If a friend or loved one confides in you that they are in an abusive relationship, create a code word or sign that they can use to let you know if the situation becomes more dangerous and help is needed.
- Whilst supporting a victim, advise them to develop a plan to stay safe that may include knowing where to go if they have to leave, key items to take, money and having emergency numbers for help. Get more information here.
- Abuse doesn’t always leave physical bruises. Verbal and emotional abuse is still domestic violence and has a longstanding impact. It can include name calling, criticiZing and demeaning someone in order to frighten, humiliate, and diminish their self-worth and sense of safety.
- You can help prevent domestic violence before it starts by teaching children that relationships should be based on mutual respect, trust, equality, and honesty. UtiliZe this time when many families are home together to start or continue the conversation.
DONATE YOUR REWARDS
There’s never been a more pertinent time to stand in solidarity with those affected by domestic violence.
If you’re one of our Love Your Body™ Club members, you can choose to donate your loyalty rewards to our charity partners to help in their mission to increase awareness and inspire action.
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