By Ammaarah Zayna
How to support victims of domestic violence during COVID-19:
1. Listen – be a good friend, don’t be judgemental, check in
2. Stay informed – keep the national domestic violence helplines and websites handy.
3. Love thy neighbour – if a neighbour or member of your community is struggling, now is the time to offer a helping hand. If you’re worried about potential domestic violence, ask that person how they’re doing and what they need. Tell them what you’re able to offer. See if there’s some middle ground. Don’t pry and force yourself into a situation. Be supportive and respect people’s boundaries. Call the police if you believe your life or somebody else’s is at risk.
4. Research your local domestic violence charities – they’re always the best to signpost family and friends to. Keep an eye out for specialist charities (BME, LGBTQ+, disabled, etc).
5. Check in with your local food bank and donate any food and hygiene products you can – many survivors of DV will end up relying on food banks during this difficult time but many food banks are struggling with shortages.
6. Join mutual aid groups if you’re able to and support in any way you can – survivors are a part of our community and now is the time to take are of our community.
7. Donate money if you are financially able to. If you’re healthy and able to, donate your time.
8. Prioritise specialist services in your efforts. They’re always the WORST hit but the MOST needed. Marginalised people need services run by and for them. So please prioritise BME, NRPF, LGBTQ+, disabled, etc charities where possible. We face additional barriers to accessing support but deserve safety too.
9. Shop with purpose – retail therapy helps a lot of us. Many artists and designers are donating some of their profits to DV charities at the moment. Try buying something from them instead of a generic retailer. Solace Womens Aid are showcasing artists every day that are donating money to keep them going.
10. Educate yourself – It’s a hard time for us all. Be mindful of how you speak and the impact it has on others. Now is the time for self reflection and self improvement. In our conversations on abuse and in general, we need to be mindful of our language and how inclusive it is. Abuse isn’t a women’s issues and it isn’t just physical. It’s not an ethnic minority problem or something that just happens when you’re old and married. Exclusionary language stops people getting support.