Much of the world is self-isolating right now. Whilst this has an enormous impact on people everywhere, this is particularly true for those at risk of domestic violence.
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 centre 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. We need to do something about it.
These estimates are being reflected worldwide and we need to do something about it. We are partnering with NO MORE, a domestic violence and sexual assault organisation, with the aim of increasing awareness, inspiring action and fuelling culture change. You can join the fight and show your solidarity by sharing the hashtag #IsolatedNotAlone
TIME TO SPEAK
Each of our Natura &Co sister companies (Avon, Aesop and Natura) will also be campaigning on 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, help support women’s services and urge governments to fund women’s services effectively. We stand in solidarity with those isolated with an abuser right now, we are here, and we will support you. You are not alone. We see you and we hear you.
TIME TO REACH OUT
We’ve teamed up NO MORE to offer essential guidance to those in need and ideas on how everyone can help combat the rise in domestic violence during this time. Read below.
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, know who to call in case of emergency and turn your location services off.
If you are in immediate danger, contact emergency services.
Domestic violence affects almost 1 in 3 women worldwide.*3 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.
Recognising 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’s 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, criticising 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. Utilise this time when many families are home together to start or continue the conversation.
We’ve teamed up with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Break The Silence Against Family Violence is a campaign launched by MSF in 2016, to raise awareness of family violence. The campaign encourages victims to seek help and also the friends and neighbours to step in to report family violence incidences in the community.
Everyone has a part to play in stopping family violence. The #IsolatedNotAlone campaign by The Body Shop augments the #BreakTheSilenceSG efforts to raise awareness of family violence and encourage the community to help keep families safe.
For more information on Break The Silence, visit: www.msf.gov.sg/breakthesilence
Each of our Natura &Co sister companies (Avon, Aesop and Natura) will also be campaigning on this important issue. Together we can help combat the rise in domestic violence. Collectively we’ve penned a global open letter to governments, governors, mayors and legislators everywhere, to support the UN Women’s call to prioritise domestic violence survivors at this time. Please read it and ask your local decision-makers what they’re doing to support survivors.
The Body Shop does not provide emergency service of any kind including; crises intervention, counselling, housing, legal or financial assistance.