Cases Of Domestic Violence Rise During Lockdown: Helplines To Call In Nigeria:
There has been a spike in cases of domestic violence since the lockdown which many attributes to victims being stuck at home with abusers.
There has been a spike in reports of domestic violence since the coronavirus lockdown commenced. Globally, associations that help victims of domestic violence have raised alarm over these increased reports of domestic abuse, with people around the world confined at home with their abusers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Places like Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Bratislava, and Lagos have all experienced this spike in domestic abuse reports since the lockdown began.
Domestic Violence During Coronavirus Lockdown
According to the German federal association of women’s counselling centres and helplines (BFF), the stress caused by social isolation is worsening tensions and increasing “the risk of domestic and sexual violence against women and children.”
The women’s rights organisation, Weiping has reported a threefold increase in reports of violence against women. While in Spain, a 35-year-old mother of two was murdered by her partner.
In Nigeria, the Coordinator of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, told reporters that there had been a rise in the number of distress calls to DSVRT hotlines.
The current situation puts response agencies in a very tight spot. Many social workers are at home and so are unable to reach victims, and if victims are removed from their homes there are limited options in terms of housing.
“Women have called us and told us they are experiencing violence at home. They are asking: Where can I go?” says Canan Gullu, from Turkey’s federation of women’s organisations.
To provide options for victims in Germany, Franziska Giffey has called on municipalities to organise alternative reception facilities if necessary. Austria provides guaranteed places in women’s refuges or the removal of violent family members from quarantined households. While in Italy, a country with one of the strictest lockdowns, victims can leave their homes as long as they carry documents justifying why they're leaving.
What is Lagos doing for victims?
Among the states in Nigeria, Lagos has the highest number of confirmed cases, which is why the federal government ordered a complete lockdown. So, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) is set to use technology to aid victims of domestic and sexual violence.
“We have to take advantage of technology as much as possible. We have gone online now, we are attending to clients via our email, social media and our hotline". According to Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, they are providing support via referrals to family support units at police stations. They have also provided counselling services. “We are doing a lot of counselling, we have our clinical psychologists speaking to victims, but what we are really advocating for safety. If anyone feels that she is at risk of domestic violence, she should at least go to a trusted family member to stay,” she said.
Speaking further, she encouraged friends and family to check on their loved ones during this period. However, she urged that it should be done through a call and not through a text message or WhatsApp.
The DSVRT could be contacted via www.dsvrtlagos.org or via hotlines on 08137960048, 09062887843 or 09062887869, while the DSVRT psychologists could be reached on 09062887865 and 09062887844.