BRAVE women have shared pictures of their horrendous injuries to raise awareness of domestic violence, as killings in the home DOUBLED during the first three weeks of lockdown in the UK.
The four women released battered and bloodied pictures of their faces on social media as researchers from Counting Dead Women Project told MPs that 14 women and two children had been killed in the first three weeks of lockdown in the UK.
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Meanwhile, calls to domestic abuse hotlines have risen by 49 per cent during the same period, as desperate victims seek help.
Sporting a bloodied nose and large bump on her forehead, Claire*, from North America, posted a picture of her battered face.
Telling how she was hospitalised, she urged people to walk away from abusive situations.
“This is domestic violence,” she said.
"Seek help. I’m home from hospital. Don’t be the next victim."
She – and all the women pictured here – gave Fabulous permission to publish her image, adding: “Speak out.”
While the women's abuse did not necessarily happen during the coronavirus outbreak, they have posted the images recently to highlight the issue, as cases across the UK rise.
The government has launched a new public awareness campaign, #YouAreNotAlone, aiming to reassure those affected by domestic abuse that support services remain available during this difficult time.
Members of the public are asked to show their solidarity and support for those who may be suffering, by sharing a photo of a heart on their palm.
Claire told Fabulous how the person accused of assaulting her had been arrested and released on bail.
Jennifer*, from midwest USA, also published a photo of her face where she sported a black eye and stitches across her eyebrow. “Still going through the healing process myself,” she wrote.
“Six months later my left eye is still darker than the other eye.
“Some days it’s still hard for me to look into the mirror without crying. Stay strong. Sending love.”
She said her abuser was charged with domestic battery but eventually convicted of a lesser charge.
Another woman who published a photograph was Kim* who said she knew how hard it was to leave violent relationships.
She simply wrote: “It takes a lot of strength to leave an abusive relationship….this is my picture."
In it Kim, also from the US, sported two black eyes. She told how her former partner was in prison.
Meanwhile Francesca*, also from the US, posted a series of shocking pictures of her. In them she has blackened eyes and a scratched head.
She said: “There has been a 40% increase in domestic violence cases since this quarantine. Please don't be afraid to reach out.”
The four join a growing group of women who have raised concerns about the impact lockdown is having on domestic abuse victims.
Earlier this month Becky Bellenie, 35, from Chelmsford, Essex, told Fabulous she feared for abused men and women in lockdown.
Becky, who was raped by her ex Neil Parrish over the course of eight years, said Parrish would have viewed the isolation lockdown afforded “as a dream come true”.
Meanwhile Rachel Williams, who was shot by her ex husband, has spoken extensively of the dangers of lockdown for domestic violence sufferers.
And grim statistics show a concerning pattern. Just days after lockdown was introduced on March 23, a mum and daughter were knifed to death before the body of a dad was found in a house fire in Hemel Hempstead.
The trio were discovered inside the burning home after a frantic neighbour spotted smoke.
Devastating impact of domestic violence
The Commons Home Affairs Committee warned that without urgent steps to address the issue of domestic violence, families and communities would be dealing with the "devastating consequences" for a generation to come.
Calls to helplines for victims had increased markedly – with evidence incidents were becoming more complex and serious with "higher levels of violence and coercive control".
It said: "Without strong action to tackle domestic abuse and support victims during the Covid-19 pandemic, society will be dealing with the devastating consequences for a generation.".
In particular, it said support services for domestic abuse and vulnerable children needed "urgent and direct funding" – otherwise victims would be put "at much greater risk of harm.
Committee chairman Yvette Cooper said: "Staying at home is an important part of the strategy to prevent coronavirus from spreading and save lives, but for some people home isn't safe.
"Urgent action is needed to protect victims and prevent perpetrators from exploiting the lockdown to increase abuse.
"The emotional, physical and social scars from domestic abuse can last a lifetime. If we don't act to tackle it now, we will feel the consequences of rising abuse during the coronavirus crisis for many years to come."
Safeguarding minister, Victoria Atkins, said: "The Government has prioritised those at risk of domestic abuse in this national health emergency.
“This has included a dedicated national campaign to provide practical help to victims, and supporting charities by giving them the funding and the resources they specifically said they needed to help people through this crisis.”
Gary Walker, 57, died in the fire, with his wife Caroline, 50, and 24-year-old daughter, Katie, dying from stab wounds on Sunday, March 29.
Cops say no-one else is being sought in connection with the deaths.
On the same day, a dad shot his wife and two young daughters at their Sussex home before turning the gun on himself.
Robert Needham, 42, is alleged to have murdered partner Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and their children Ava, five, and three-year-old Lexi after suffering from cash stress linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
Police have not commented on how they all died but were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
The Government is now facing calls from MPs for a full action plan to tackle a rising tide of domestic abusein the UK since the coronavirus lockdown began.
Where can you get help?
Woman’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
A report als found that 10 per cent of domestic abuse victims are being forced to sleep rough after being refused emergency accommodation.
Meanwhile, a brave six-year-old girl saved her mum from ‘satanic’ abuse by telling teacher ‘Daddy’s hurting Mummy’.
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