While social distancing, isolation and the possibility of full lockdown all sound like great ways to get the world back on its feet amid Covid-19 fears, these very measures are terrifying for women who are already vulnerable, according to CEO of Longford Women’s Link, Louise Lovett.
Covid-19 issues that are causing distress in homes and to families across the county are causing panic and fear in homes where domestic violence is happening and Longford Women’s Link is anticipating an escalation in domestic abuse as families have to spend much more time together and where they have reduced access to community supports.
“Rural Ireland barriers come into play here too,” Ms Lovett told the Leader.
“The issue of poor internet access and substandard phone signals exacerbates the danger for women and children when they cannot leave the house.”
Ms Lovett is also concerned that the situation will be misused to further isolate and abuse adult survivors of domestic violence but Longford Women’s Link is doing everything it can to get the word out that supports are still available.
“Women or those trying to help can call our helpline for accurate up to date information on what is happening here in Longford and the Midlands that will help women be safer,” she explained.
“LWL has used local radio, all forms of social media to get a simple message out – The Domestic Violence service is open. We have restricted our social media posting to twice weekly – Mondays and Fridays at 9am to avoid bombarding people with information.”
Survivors of domestic violence or abuse are very resilient and resourceful, Ms Lovett added, and should continue to listen to their gut and keep doing what they’re doing to keep going.
“Call us: each individual case is unique so it’s important that women get accurate information based on their own situation,” Ms Lovett explained.
Anyone who is aware of domestic violence is asked to be very careful.
“Domestic violence is a complex situation where it is very difficult to get involved without doing more harm than good.
“The main thing that we ask everyone to do is listen, follow the person’s lead, do what she asks you to do when she asks you to do it.
“Survivors are just that - survivors - and they need us all to remember that they know the abuser better that anyone. If you want more information about helping a specific person ask that person what can you do. If you want you can call us.”
The important thing to remember is that Longford Women’s Link is still there for support.
To find out what supports are available, visit www.lwl.ie, call 0433341511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.