As lockdown eases abusers start to lose control – with increased risks for victims.
Since March 23rd 2020 the Covid-19 Lockdown has effectively placed the entire country under house arrest. Unfortunately this has not just been a necessary protection against the virus, it has given some domestic perpetrators the best opportunity they have ever had to establish a sinister – and near total – control over their victims.
As the lockdown begins to ease, abusers will have to relax their vice-like hold over victims who, at long last, will be able to move around more freely, seek comfort from friends or take the plunge of requesting help from outside support agencies and the police.
Our experience of abusers’ behaviour suggests, however, that now is the moment of maximum danger for victims, for this is the point at which perpetrators who realise they are losing control can react most maliciously.
Some abusers will stop at nothing to find – or invent – new methods of control, many of them technology-based, as our friends in IBM and UCL are discovering. These may in turn morph into even higher levels of control, abuse or actual physical violence.
Our worry is that the next few months will see a surge of abuse and violence as abusers struggle to control their victims.
Domestic abuse and violence support agencies are already wrestling with sharply increased call volumes and requests for support.
In the light of what is likely to happen from now on, these agencies need to come together, pool their insights and resources, prepare for another spike and develop better, smarter and faster solutions for victims before more victims die.