Domestic violence while in isolation: Some quick advice on how to manage this difficult situation
Since the Covid-19 crisis started, there has been a spike in domestic violence while people are in isolation. What do you do in a situation like this? How do you handle domestic violence when your abuser is in isolation with you? We got some quick advice from Lisa Rowles, Director of Innovation and Evidence at Khulisa, and Ray Henry, Chairman of the IACP, about how parents with children in isolation can ensure everyone’s wellbeing.
Ray Henry: The ultimate objective is safety. If the partner is the abuser then you call the services that will step in to provide protection. Before you do this, you need to address this with the partner and tell them that you will call the police should they abuse you again. But if you are concerned about your child then you should call the services immediately because the protection of your child is your first concern. This is very extreme but it was predictable that there would be a spike in domestic violence.
The line is drawn and you need to say ‘I am looking after my kids’. Swift and definitive action. You know the partner and you might have tried to work things out and have taken different measures but there is a spike and there is a line and once that gets crossed then you need to take action. This might appear drastic when I say swift action and I hope that you have tried other things but this is the last resort. You need to be strong.
The ultimate objective is safety. If the partner is the abuser then you call the services that will step in to provide protection.
Ray Henry, Chairman, IACP
Lisa Rowles: Where the services exist, take advantage of them but the reality is that a lot of these services are being pushed. There is money going, in a little late in the day, but there is money going in. As an individual, I would say try and reduce as many stressors as possible because violence often is a coping mechanism and make the space safe for the child. It helps if you know the triggers of a person who copes through violence. In the aftermath of a violent event, it’s being able to work with the young person and reduce shame and guilt on their part. Meditation and breathing techniques help.
Remember we don’t have control over the situation but we do have control over our reaction to it. The body is where these things are stored and being able to work through the physiological reactions is important. The mantra is ‘I am being the best I can with what I have at the moment’. I can only hope more money goes to charities helping against domestic violence.