By Francesca Merlo
Since the beginning of the lockdown imposed by several governments to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, domestic violence cases have increased immensely.
A large reason for this is that where victims previously found space to breathe, whether at work or for social reasons, they are now spending all their time at home with their abusers. Likewise, children are not able to attend school, which many parents consider a safety net.
Governments all over the world are receiving more and more calls for help, as victims of domestic violence fear for their own and for their children’s health and well-being.
In France, domestic violence has risen by 36%, including two cases of femicide, since the beginning of the lockdown. To help tackle this, the government has announced that it will be paying for victims to stay in hotels, whilst pop-up counselling centres will be installed in shops in the hope that women out buying groceries will be able to access them easily.
In the United Kingdom the police are encouraging victims to use what they are calling a silent call: by calling the emergency number 999 and then dialling 55 the police say that they will recognise the call as “a cause for concern”.
In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morisson announced a 75% rise in Google searches for help since the start of the lockdown. And The government has given a S$142 million boost in funding to tackle domestic violence
Pope Francis has often condemned violence, in all its forms. Last year, the Catholic Church in England and Wales gave their Day for Life the theme of “the scourge of domestic abuse”. On that occasion, Pope Francis sent a message showing his support for the bishops working for “the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters” and committed to fighting “all forms of exploitation”, “in particular the shameful ill-treatment to which women are sometimes subjected (cf Amoris Laetitia, 54).”