A survey is now open for people who live or work in Wales and have witnessed domestic abuse or its warning signs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey forms part of vital domestic abuse research being delivered by The Wales Violence Prevention Unit and University of Exeter, investigating the experiences and behaviours of those who witness or have concerns about domestic violence and abuse and its warning signs during COVID-19.
The research team is asking members of the Welsh public to anonymously share their experience of witnessing or having concerns about domestic abuse during the pandemic, so bystanders can be equipped with the right knowledge, skills and training necessary to safely intervene and help more people in the future.
“Preventing domestic abuse is everybody’s business and many people may be finding themselves in the position of being a “by-stander” for the first time.
“This survey will be invaluable in understanding how bystanders have behaved during the pandemic, and whether the social restrictions in place to protect people from COVID-19 have impacted on what can be a life changing intervention for survivors of domestic violence and abuse. In turn, the research will help inform policy and prevention activities in Wales and beyond, to help more survivors of domestic abuse.”Lara Snowdon, Violence Prevention Specialist, Public Health Wales
Since lockdown measures came into force early in 2020, there have been stark warnings from global leaders about the risk of a “shadow pandemic” of abuse taking place inside people’s homes*. In Wales, there has been a 41% increase in the number of contacts made to the Live Fear Free helpline since April 2020.
As much of the population continues to observe the “stay home” guidance, there are fewer opportunities for survivors to seek support and for bystanders, such as concerned family, friends, volunteers and colleagues, to intervene. However, with many people now conducting much of their daily life from inside their homes, there are new opportunities for different groups of people, including neighbours, colleagues in virtual meetings and delivery drivers, to spot the warning signs of abuse and take safe action.
How can I help?
If you believe you have been witness to – or have concerns about - domestic abuse or any of its warning signs during the pandemic, then the research team is keen to hear from you. Please visit www.violencepreventionwales.co.uk/survey and follow the link to take the survey.
What does the survey involve?
The survey shouldn’t take up too much of your time – about 30 minutes – and must be completed online.
During the survey, you will be asked questions about your way of life during the pandemic, your understanding of domestic abuse, what forms of abuse or its warning signs you have witnessed or had concerns about during the pandemic, and what – if any – action you took.
You will also be asked whether circumstances of the pandemic influenced your being able to witness abusive behaviour, and whether these circumstances changed your response.
During the survey, you may find recalling your experiences difficult or traumatising, so remember you can stop the survey at any time. It’s really important that, if this happens, you know that support is available to you, 24/7. Before you begin the survey, you will be given details of support services to help you, so please make a note of these before you begin. This information will also be available once you have completed the survey.
Will they know it’s me?
The survey is completely anonymous.
When you get to the end of the survey, you may be asked if you would like to participate in an interview with a researcher who wants to find out more about your experience. If you are okay with this, you will be asked to provide an email address so that the researcher can contact you within the following days.
What do I do if I think someone is being abused?
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 999 and the police will respond. If you need silent help, you can dial 999 and then dial 55 when prompted by the operator. If it is not an emergency, you can contact the police by dialling 101.
The Live Fear Free helpline, run by Welsh Women’s Aid and funded by Welsh Government, is available 24/7 to support you. If you have experienced domestic abuse, sexual violence and/or violence against women, or are worried about a friend or relative who is experiencing any form of violence or abuse you can call them to for confidential help and advice.
The helpline is run by a skilled team who are able to communicate in both English and Welsh.
Call: 08088 010 800
Text: 07860 077333