The coronavirus pandemic has successfully put paid to many of life’s daily activities. For numerous immigrants, violence, fear, distress and uncertainty hide behind the walls. What can they do?
Natacha Andueza Bosch
In the United Kingdom, various organisations work to help Latin American and other migrant women. One of these is Latin American Women’s Rights Service (Lawrs), whose remit also includes victims of violence and abuse.
During the so-called lockdown period, their key task is to monitor service users who, to a greater or lesser extent, suffer violence. They also offer support and guidance to whoever needs it. Lawrs spoke to The Prisma about how women, and Latin Americans in general, are experiencing this period of crisis and uncertainty.
Has domestic violence increased during the lockdown period?
Evidence from other countries indicates that instances of domestic violence may increase as a result of the lockdown. What is more, women have less opportunity to seek advice and support because they are isolating with their attacker.
According to information shared by national organisations such as Refuge and Women’s Aid, the percentage of telephone and online enquiries and webchats have increased considerably since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.
In terms of helplines, information provided by Refuge shows a 25% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
In the case of our service, we are dealing with more complex cases, and everything indicates that we will see a major increase in demand when the isolation restrictions are relaxed, and women have greater opportunity to seek support.
How are you helping those who are suffering violence at this time? Which services can they request help from?
We continue providing assistance daily to Latin American women in situations of domestic violence or abuse, through our phoneline: 0771 928 1714, Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 13:00. If it is not safe to phone, women can write to us at email@example.com, including their name, number and a time that would be safe for us to call them.
How do you help those who do not speak English and therefore have more difficulties in facing this situation?
Latin American organisations continue offering their services remotely and publishing relevant information in Spanish and Portuguese. Other organisations, such as the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and the NHS, have a translation service, but this must be requested explicitly.
Any additional observations?
It is important for women to know that if they are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, the isolation restrictions do not apply.
(Translated by Rebecca Ndhlovu – Email: rebeccandhlo
firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay