United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently called on governments to make addressing the surge in domestic violence a key part of their pandemic response.
A BBC host has garnered praise online after she presented the news with the telephone number for the U.K.'s national domestic abuse helpline written on her hand. TV presenter Victoria Derbyshire sent a subtle message to victims of domestic abuse during her broadcast as global lockdowns sparked an increase in domestic violence. The journalist's powerful gesture on TV came after Refuge—the U.K.'s largest domestic abuse charity—said on Monday that calls to its helpline had increased by 25% since the lockdown began and that hits on its website had shot up by 150%.
Derbyshire tweeted a photo of the number written on the back of her hand the same morning, writing: The National Domestic Abuse hotline has seen a 25% increase in calls & online requests for help in the past week. During the lockdown there’s also been a daily rise in people going on the helpline website & last wk that figure was up by 150%. The helpline is open 24/7.
The National Domestic Abuse hotline has seen a 25% increase in calls & online requests for help in past week— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) April 6, 2020
During the lockdown there’s also been a daily rise in people going on the helpline website & last wk that figure was up by 150%
The helpline is open 24/7 pic.twitter.com/onHBSfhERV
Speaking to CNN about leaving the number on her hand while hosting the show, Derbyshire explained, "I'd written the number on my hand to tweet a photo of it at 7 a.m. this morning. I left it on my skin in case it could help any of the millions watching after 9 a.m. on BBC 1." She added that it was "shocking enough" that two U.K. women were killed every week by a partner or ex-partner even before the pandemic. "Now some will be trapped with a violent perpetrator in self-isolation or partial lockdown and it's even more vital to get the helpline number out there," she said.
Victoria Derbyshire presented BBC News with the National Domestic Abuse helpline phone number on her hand. 0808 2000 247 - the helpline is open 24/7— carmen bezzina (@carmen_bezzina) April 6, 2020
Domestic Abuse calls have gone up 25% in the last week, with a 150% daily rise in contact since lockdown.
Thank you Victoria.💜 pic.twitter.com/1LzRMd6tPg
Victoria Derbyshire, one of Britain’s best journalists, and for me, the most reputable facilitator of constructive dialogue on TV and online.— james cantwell (@jamesccantwell) April 7, 2020
Here she hosts bbc news with the Domestic Abuse Hotline number written on her hand. Powerful.
Call if in need: 0808 2000 247 pic.twitter.com/4p1dSQC9ST
Props to Victoria Derbyshire for writing the number for the domestic abuse helpline for those victims looking to discreetly seek help whilst around their partners— Alex 🦖 (@alex___180) April 6, 2020
*I stole this from facebook* pic.twitter.com/KInPRzW3No
According to Independent, Refuge recently announced that it has teamed up with Chelsea FC to raise awareness for the women and children becoming victims of domestic abuse during the pandemic. "Reports from around the world show that the COVID-19 global pandemic has led to an increase in domestic abuse incidents during periods of isolation and lockdown. Experts are warning that the coronavirus outbreak will lead to a 'domestic abuse pandemic,'" the charity said in a statement announcing the partnership.
The most important message we have for survivors right now is that they are not alone. Our Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline remains open, and our website contains information on staying safe: https://t.co/zrOzNlp3hK pic.twitter.com/PBYRVhV8AQ— Refuge (@RefugeCharity) April 6, 2020
Refuge warned that self-isolation could aggravate "pre-existing abusive behaviors," making it harder for women to seek help. "The window for women to seek help ordinarily is extremely limited," the statement continued. "The current periods of isolation mean that window is reduced yet more. Refuge wants women to know they are not alone and can still access its support, via its specialist services that run across the country, by telephone and digitally."
Mounting evidence suggests that domestic abuse is becoming more frequent and more severe as a world in pandemic locks down.— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 6, 2020
As hotlines struggle with a surge of calls, governments are trying to address a crisis experts say they should have seen coming.https://t.co/v9DqcZoGuc
With mounting data laying bare the disturbing surge in domestic abuse during the pandemic, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on governments to make addressing the issue a key part of their pandemic response. In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday, Guterres stated that violence isn't limited to the battlefield. "For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes," he said, appealing "for peace at home — and in homes — around the world."
'West Midlands Police has arrested 400 domestic abuse suspects in the last two weeks during the coronavirus lockdown.'— David Challen (@David_Challen) April 7, 2020
Victims, the police will come if you need them.
Perpetrators, there is no hiding, you will be arrested.
Govt, support these messages!https://t.co/CCV69QYNxb
"We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners. Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence," Guterres continued. The secretary-general revealed that in some countries "the number of women calling support services has doubled" while "healthcare providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed" amid the pandemic. "I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plan to COVID-19," he said.
Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 6, 2020
Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world.
I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/PjDUTrMb9v