As we make our way through these new and challenging times, there is one incredibly sad outcome of the lockdown – an increase in domestic violence across the globe as women and children have no escape from those who abuse them.

The UN is predicting a possible 15 million cases of intimate partner violence if lockdowns last three months, and 31 million if they last for six months. The UN secretary general has implored governments to put women’s safety first as they consider their pandemic responses.

‘The epidemic has had a huge impact on domestic violence,’ Wan Fei, a retired police officer who founded a charity campaigning against abuse, told Sixth Tone website. ‘According to our statistics, 90% of the causes of violence [in this period] are related to the Covid-19 epidemic.’

In the UK, a Home Affairs select committee has warned that we risk ‘serious consequences for a generation’ if steps are not taken to deal with the increasing levels of domestic abuse during the pandemic.

‘Staying at home is an important part of the strategy to prevent coronavirus from spreading and save lives, but for some people home isn’t safe’ says committee chairman Yvette Cooper.

‘Urgent action is needed to protect victims and prevent perpetrators from exploiting the lockdown to increase abuse. The emotional, physical and social scars from domestic abuse can last a lifetime.’

Across the globe, governments are working hard to support and protect victims during this time, with many women’s charities stepping up their efforts to be available 24/7 as demand for their services sadly increases.

According to UK charity Refuge, key recommendations for protecting yourself in the home include keeping a mobile charged and on you at all times, agreeing a code word with a trusted friend or family member who can call the police on your behalf if needed and if possible, keep bank cards, a little cash and car keys in a safe and accessible place. The full list of ways to protect yourself during lockdown can be found here.

The main thing to remembers is that you are not alone, that domestic abuse is a crime and help is available.

Numbers to call

In the UAE, The Dubai Foundation for Women & Children provides a free of charge helpline service (800111) for all the residents of Dubai and the UAE 24/7 or text 5111 for and SMS helpline (

For more authorities to contact throughout the Emirates, including local Social Support Centres in each Emirate, visit here

In the UK, call the national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247, or visit Women’s Aid.

In Australia, the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732.

In the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Other international helplines may be found via

Useful Podcasts

The Adult Chair, Episode 208: Triumph Over Abuse – An Interview with Survivors

Michelle Chalfont interviews two survivors of domestic abuse, who explain and explore just how insidious patterns of abuse can be.

Spotlight: the podcast for the domestic abuse sector: April 23, Staying safe at home: children and young people

Amy Hewitt speaks to behavioural psychologist Emily Alison, about guidance for those using abuse during the COVID-19 crisis.

Undiscussable: Series 2, Episode 1, The Devastating Effects Of Covid-19 on Victims and Survivors of Domestic Abuse

Broadcaster, activist and survivor of childhood abuse Charlie Webster is joined by experts to give help and guidance to all victims, survivors and the general public in this time when we all need to be looking out for each other.

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