When home is not your haven

As we find our way through this pandemic let us take a moment to consider those for whom being at home does not offer safety, but the living hell of domestic abuse. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality and background. There are different kinds of abuse that can happen in different contexts. The most prevalent type of domestic abuse occurs in relationships. But the definition of domestic abuse also covers abuse between family members, such as adolescent to parent violence and abuse. 


The experience of being in enforced isolation with an abuser, at this time, when we are experiencing the increased stress of the impact of the Coronavirus is a very serious concern. We need to ensure that this does not lead to the increase of domestic emotional and or physical abuse of women, men and children. 

Domestic abuse is not acceptable and yet with the increased showing of all sorts of violence on television, movies and video games, at some level, violence, for many, becomes the norm and we become desensitised to it. The definition of domestic abuse is defined by Women’s Aid as, “An incident or patterns of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is sadly very common. In the vast majority of cases, it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.”

The Deluth Project is a programme developed to reduce domestic violence and their wheel, on their website is a useful tool to use when considering whether you or someone else is in an abusive relationship. They breakdown emotional violence into categories which are useful to consider:

  • intimidation
  • using emotional abuse
  • using isolation
  • minimizing, denying and blaming
  • using children in a manipulative way
  • using privilege
  • economic abuse and using coercion and threats, such as carrying out threats to hurt the other, threatening to leave or commit suicide

For so many people violence in a relationship is seen as physical and yet all the aforementioned behaviours are a form of violence in relationships.

During the next few months, access to services will, without doubt, be made far more difficult. It will be much more challenging to make a call or ask for help whilst being at home with the abuser. It is vital to know that support and help is available.

Domestic abuse services provide a wide range of information and support including refuge accommodation, helplines, outreach support, floating support, resettlement support, specialist children and young people services, domestic abuse prevention advocates and drop-in support.

The National Domestic Abuse helpline and Women’s Aid offers a live chat support service, which provides online support. If you or a friend need help call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247

If you are in immediate danger call 999 as you would ordinarily, as the police are there to protect you. Along with the above, there are therapists, like myself, that are here to support and listen during this time.

“Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety”

William Shakespeare

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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