Demand for support services increases as lockdown eases
Cyfannol Women’s Aid’s services have been extremely busy over recent months, having supported more than 1300 adults, many of whom have presented as high risk. This represents a 50% increase in demand compared to the same period last year, but we still believe we are yet to feel the full impact of the pandemic, as demand for our services continues to rise.
We’ve been working hard behind the scenes since lockdown began, to ensure we can continue to support people who are experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence, whilst maintaining the safety of everyone who accesses and delivers our services.
Our refuges have continued to operate, while staff who support people in the community have done so remotely via phone and video calls. Having reopened our offices this month, face-to-face appointments have now resumed for people in crisis and emergency situations.
Feedback from people we’ve been supporting during this period has been positive, with many commenting that contact from our support workers has provided a lifeline and reduced their feelings of isolation at this extremely challenging time.
The national Live Fear Free helpline has also continued to operate throughout this crisis, offering support 24/7 to survivors and those concerned about others, and referring people to services like ours across Wales. They are now experiencing increases of up to 49% from survivors or concerned individuals. Calls are also more complex and of greater severity, with call time doubling since the start of the pandemic.
As we continue to adapt to meet the demands of the current situation and the needs of individuals, we are grateful to our funders for their ongoing support. Additional, emergency funding means we can step up our efforts to help people across Gwent – this includes recruiting additional staff to deal with phone calls from the public and referrals from the police.
Cyfannol CEO, Helen Swain, said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us over the past four months, from our staff and colleagues in the sector, to our funders and supporters in our communities. The ‘stay at home’ guidance has undoubtedly presented an additional risk to people experiencing domestic abuse over the past four months. The current situation has also raised awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse and shone a spotlight on just how many people suffer in silence.
It is our hope that, as lockdown continues to ease, people will recognise that they are not alone and contact local services, or the national Live Fear Free Helpline, for help, or support those close to them to access this help if they need it.”
Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence, regardless of age, gender, sexuality or social background, and of course it is often hidden behind closed doors. Specialist support is available.
If you are experiencing:
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Threatening, controlling & coercive behaviour
- Sexual abuse
- Or physical abuse