Keeping safe during the pandemic
Looking after your mental health
The coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak is going to have an impact on everyone’s daily lives, as the government and the NHS take necessary steps to manage the outbreak, reduce transmission and treat those who need medical attention. It may be difficult, but by following guidance on social distancing, or staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community. During this time, you may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. Everyone reacts differently to events and changes in the way that we think, feel and behave vary between different people and over time. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get further support if you need it.” (Government, 2020)
At home shouldn’t mean at risk, but sadly for many people the lockdown has meant that they are trapped in isolation with their abuser under a pressurised situation.
Over the weekend, the government launched its #YouAreNotAlone domestic abuse campaign to reassure victims of domestic abuse that there is still help for them during the Covid crisis, and that the household isolation instruction as a result of COVID-19 does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse. (Gov.uk, Covid19 and domestic abuse)
The charity Refuge that runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline has released statistics evidencing an average increase in calls and contacts to its National Domestic Abuse Helpline of 25% since the UK entered lockdown measures, and an increase to 120% following publicity that they were still accepting calls (Refuge, 09/04/20).
Domestic abuse is a serious crime with two women a week being killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. However, anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. Although the most common type of domestic abuse is within a relationship, the legal definition of domestic abuse also covers “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.”
Help is still available for victims of domestic violence and they do not have to live in an unsafe situation. The symbol of the campaign is a heart drawn on the palm of a hand. You may wish to create your own picture for your parish. For many families, being contained within one household with worries and anxieties about food, health, money, employment etc will increase the risk of domestic abuse occurring.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.
If you call 999 from a mobile and cannot speak, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard (link embedded to scheme) and this will transfer your call to the police. Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.
National Domestic Violence Helpline - 0808 2000 247 or www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk
Help is also available from (all hyperlinked):
Childline – 0800 1111
Refuge – 0808 2000 247
Men’s Advice line - 0808 801 0327 (weekdays 9am-5pm)
The Mankind Initiative - 01823 334244 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm)
Respect Phoneline offers confidential advice and support to help domestic violence perpetrators stop being violent and abusive to their partners or ex-partners. 0808 802 4040
Domestic Abuse guidance from the Catholic Archbishops
Is available here
Responding to domestic abuse allegations
A guide from the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service here
Free Safeguarding Training
the Liverpool Safeguarding Children’s Partnership have produced a list of 50+ e-safeguarding learning courses and resources, which are available free of charge at: https://liverpoolscp.org.uk/scp/training/e-learning-modules
· Domestic Violence and Abuse – Safeguarding during the Covid-19 crisis
· Online Safety
· Suicide Awareness
· Understanding Young Minds
· Working from Home
There is also information and resources on many different areas of safeguarding, so do feel free to explore the resources that LSCP is offering.
Guidance on the use of Video Conferencing in Ministry
This has been issued by the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service. Available here
Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is ‘Kindness Matters’
One of the kindest things we can do as a community for anyone struggling with their mental health is to make sure that we are a safe place for people to share their feelings, and to access help and support.
Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalheath.org.uk
Hub of Hope: https://hubofhope.co.uk
Children and Young People