Social distancing could raise concerns about abusive behaviour, charity warns
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Social distancing could raise concerns about abusive behaviour, charity warns

'Isolation could be used as a tool for coercive and controlling behaviour as well as exacerbating other forms of abuse', said the chief executive officer of Jewish Women’s Aid.

A woman wearing a protective face mask and gloves   (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
A woman wearing a protective face mask and gloves (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Self isolation during the pandemic could raise concerns about abusive behaviour, a Jewish domestic violence charity has warned.

Schools across the country will shut on Friday to most pupils, except vulnerable children and those whose parents are considered “essential” workers, in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

A list of key workers published by the government on Friday includes journalists, frontline health and social care staff, people involved in food production and delivery, and utility workers.

But social distancing measures – which could be in place for at least six months according to the Government’s scientific advisers – could affect victims of abusive behaviour, a charity has warned.

“Our main concern at the moment is that self or household isolation could cause abusive behaviour to get worse for women and children,” said Naomi Dickson, the chief executive officer of Jewish Women’s Aid.

“Isolation could be used as a tool for coercive and controlling behaviour as well as exacerbating other forms of abuse. We would urge women to contact the police if they or their children are in immediate danger,” she added.

Amid the pandemic, the domestic abuse and sexual violence charity will keep its helplines open and is developing a new web chat service, due to launch after Pesach.

Most face to face appointments will be replaced with remote phone or video calls, as the charity continues to offer support services, such as casework and counselling.

Anyone who needs help can call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 801 0500, which is open Monday to Thursday from 9.30am to 9.30pm. 

If you are affected by sexual violence, contact the Dina Support Line on 0808 801 0656. The helpline is open from 10am until noon, and from 1pm to 3pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, and from 1pm to 3pm on Thursdays.

In an emergency, always call 999. 

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