For victims of coercive control living under lockdown is the norm as their every move is dictated by their abuser. We might find it frustrating not to be able to see our friends and family, go to work, the gym or the pub but that is what far too many women have to live with on a day to day basis.
I have spoken to hundreds of women who have to ask permission to go to the toilet, have to get permission as to what and when they are allowed to eat, what to wear, who to speak to, how to speak and even whether they are allowed to show affection to their children.
The lockdown however has meant that now the abuser has no-where else to go and whilst he may lock her in the house whilst he goes to work or out with his friends at least she has that time away from him even though he may be monitoring her through cameras and recording equipment in the house.
Victims are finding it incredibly difficult to get help now which is concerning. Previously it may take a victim many hours of support from a domestic abuse worker and advice from a solicitor before she builds up the courage to leave. Leaving is the most dangerous time for a woman and the time she is most likely to be murdered so ideally it should be carefully planned to maximise her safety. This is very difficult if the woman does not have the space to make a call or drop into an advice clinic on her way back from taking the children to school.
In the last 2 weeks there is thought to have been approximately a dozen women killed by their partners and this figure will rise quickly week on week. The government needs to provide much needed cash for domestic abuse and stalking services who are operating without sufficient staff or resources due to lack of funding. They are lifesavers and as we speak are devising ingenious ways of maintaining contact with victims under lockdown. They are the 4th emergency service and are often the difference between life and death.